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•'I am told that these men (the Boers; are told to keep oa 
agfltatiug in this way, for a change of Government in England 
may give them again the old order of things. Nothing can show 
greater ignorance of English politics than such an idea. I tell 
you there is no Government— Whig or Tory, Liberal, Conser- 
vative, or Radical — who would dare, under any circumstances, 
to give back this country (the Transvaal). They would not dare, 
because the English people would not allow them.."— (Extract 
from Speech of Sir Garnet WoUeley, delivered at a Public Banquet 
in Pretoria^ on the 17th December 187Q.) 

"There was a still stronger reason than that for not receding 
(from the Transvaal) ; it was impossible to say what calamities 
such a step as receding might not cause. . . . For such a risk he 
could not make himself responsible. . . . Difficulties with the 
Zulu and the frontier tribes would again arise, and looking as 
they must to South Africa as a whole, the Government, after a 
careful consideration of the question, came to the conclusion 
that we could not relinquish the Transvaal." — (Extract from 
Speech of Lord Kimberley in the House of Lord*, 24th May J 880. 
H, P. D., vol. cclii., p. 208.) 

" Our judgment is that the Queen cannot be advised to re- 
linquish the Transvaal."— (7?x<rac^ from Reply of Mr. Gladstone 
to Boer Memorial, Sth June 1880.) 












Cetywayo and His White Neighbours. ^ 


King Solomon's Mines. K 

The Witch's Head. 


Allan Quatermain. 


Colonel Quaritch, V.C. 

Maiwa's Revenge. 

Mr. Meeson's Will. 

Allan's Wife. 



Eric Brighteyes. 

Nada the Lily. 

Montezuma's Daughter. 

The People of the Mist. 

Joan Haste. 

Heart of the World. 

Doctor Therne. 


A Farmer's Year. 


Yhe World's Desire. 


The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved. 


It has been suggested that at this juncture some 
students of South African history might be glad to 
read an account of the Boer Kebellion of 1881, its 
causes and results. Accordingly, in the following pages 
are reprinted portions of a book which I wrote so 
long ago as 1882. It may be objected that such matter 
must be stale, but I venture to urge, on the contrary, 
that to this very fact it owes whatever value it may 
possess. This history was written at the time by 
one who took an active part in the. sad and stir- 
ring events which it records, immediately after the 
issue of those events had driven him home to England. 
Of the original handful of individuals who were con- 
cerned in the annexation of the Transvaal by Sir 
Theophilus Shepstone in 1877, of whom I was one, 
not many now survive. When they have gone, 
any further accurate report made from an intimate 
personal knowledge of the incidents attendant on that 
act will be an impossibility ; indeed it is already im- 
possible, since after the lapse of twenty years men can 
scarcely trust to their memories for the details of 
intricate political occurrences, even should they be 



prompted to attempt their record. It is for this 
reason, when the melancholy results which its pages 
foretell have overtaken us, that I venture to lay them 
again before the public, so that any who are interested 
in the matter may read and find in the tale of 1881 
the true causes of the war of 1 899. 

I have written " which its pages foretell" Here 
are one or two passages taken from them almost at 
hazard that may be thought to justify the words : 

" It seems to me, however, to be a question worthy 
of the consideration of those who at present direct the 
destinies of the Empire, whether it would not be wise, 
as they have gone so far, to go a little farther, and 
favour a scheme for the total abandonment of South 
Africa, retaining only Table Bay. If they do not, it 
is now quite within the bounds of possibility that 
they may one day have to face a fresh Transvaal 
rebellion^ only on a ten times larger scale, and might 
find it difficult to retain even Table Bay." 

And again : " The curtain, so far as this country is 
concerned, is down for the moment on the South 
African stage; when it rises again, there is but too 
much reason to fear that it will reveal a state of 
confusion which, unless it is more wisely and con- 
sistently dealt with in the future than it has been in 
the past, may develop into chaos." 

One more quotation. In speaking of the various 
problems of South Africa, I find that I said that " unless 
they are treated with more honest intelligence, and 


on a more settled plan than it has hitherto been 
thought necessary to apply to them, the British tax- 
payer will find that he has by no means heard the 
last of that country and its wars." 

Perhaps in a year from the present date the British 
taxpayer will be in a position to admit the value of 
this prophecy. 

Nearly two decades have gone by since these words 
were written. Put very briefly, what has happened 
in that time? In 1884, at the request of the Trans- 
vaal Government, the Ministry, of which the late Lord 
Derby was a member, consented to modify the Con- 
vention of 1 88 1, and to substitute in its place what is 
known as the London Convention. This new agree- 
ment amended the terms of the former document in 
certain particulars. Notably all mention of the suze- 
rainty of the Queen was omitted, from which circum- 
stance the Boers and their impassioned advocates have 
argued that it was abrogated. There is nothing to show 
that this contention is correct. Mere silence does not 
destroy so important a stipulation, and it appears to be 
doubtful whether even a Lord Derby would have been 
prepared to nullify the imperial rights of his sovereign 
and his country in this negative and novel fashion. 
It is more probable to suppose that had such action 
been decided on, effect would have been given to it in 
direct and unmistakable language. But even if it 
could be proved that this view of the case is wrong, 
the general issue would scarcely be affected. 


That issue, as I understand it, is as follows : The 
Convention of 1881 guaranteed to all inhabitants of 
the Transvaal equal rights — " Complete self-government 
subject to the suzerainty of her Majesty, her heirs and 
successors, will be accorded to the inhabitants of the 
Transvaal territory " — Mr. Kruger explaining verbally 
at a meeting of the conference, that the only difference 
would be that in the case of young persons who became 
resident in the Transvaal, there might be some slight 
delay in granting full burgher privileges, limited, it 
would appear, to one year's residence.^ After that 
time, then, according to the terms of this solemn 
agreement, which in these particulars were not modi- 
fied or even touched, by the supplementary and amend- 
ing paper of 1884, any one who wished to claim the 
advantages of Transvaal citizenship might do so. 

Some years later an event occurred fated profoundly 
to influence the destinies of South Africa, namely, the 
discovery of the Witwatersrand gold deposits, perhaps 
the richest and the most permanent in the whole 
world. Instantly adventurers, most of them of Anglo- 
Saxon origin, flocked in thousands to the place where 
countless wealth lay buried in the earth, and on the 
plains over which I have seen the wild game wander- 

^ In .1881, when the Convention was being discussed, President 
Kruger was asked by our representative what treatment would be 
given to British subjects in the Transvaal. He said, " All strangers 
have now, and will always have, equal rights and privileges to 
the Burghers of the Transvaal." — Quotation fnw, Speech of Mr. J. 
Chamberlain, June 26, 1899. 


ing, sprang up the city of Johannesburg with its motley 
and cosmopolitan population, its speculators, company 
promoters, traders, miners, and labouring men. 

To the Transvaal, at any rate in the beginning, the 
arrival of these wealth-engendering hordes was what 
the fall of copious rain is to the sun-parched veld. 
By this time the country was once more almost bank- 
rupt, but now, as though by the waving of a magician's 
wand, money began to flow into its coffers. One of 
the characteristics of the Boer is his hatred of taxa- 
tion ; one of his notions of terrestrial bliss is to live in 
a land where the necessary expenses of administration 
are paid by somebody else, an advantage, I understand, 
that among all the civilised nations of the earth is 
enjoyed alone by the inhabitants of the Principality 
of Monaco. It is not usual, either in the instance of 
communities or individuals, that such ideals should 
be absolutely attained. Yet to the fortunate possessors 
of the South African Eepublic this happened. For 
quite a long period they lived at ease in their dorps 
and on their farms, while the dwellers at Johannes- 
burg, delving like gnomes in the reefs of the Kand, pro- 
vided them with magnificent and never-failing supplies 
of cash. Then questions began to arise, as they will 
do in this imperfect sphere. The Uitlanders, as the 
strangers were called, remembering the terms of the 
Conventions, drawn under a very different condition 
of affairs but still binding, hinted at a wish for burgher 


The Boers, who if they liked their money ob- 
jected to the money-makers, instantly took alarm. 
If the vote were given to the Uitlanders it was 
obvious that very soon they would outnumber the 
original electors. Then in a natural, but to them 
terrifying, sequence would come a redistribution of 
the burdens of taxation, the abolition of monopolies, 
the punishment of corruption, the just treatment 
of the native races, the absolute purity of the 
courts, and all the other things and institutions, 
in their eyes abominable, which mark the advent of 
Anglo-Saxon rule. Behind these also loomed another 
danger, that of the ultimate reappearance of the 
English flag. So legislation was resorted to, and bit 
by bit the Uitlanders were stripped of the rights in- 
herent to their position as " inhabitants of the Trans- 
vaal territory," till at last none were left to them at 
all. Indeed Press laws were passed and other enact- 
ments controlling the privilege of free speech and 
public meetings. Of course had the British Govern- 
ment put down its foot firmly and at once at the 
first symptom of a desire on the part of the Boers 
to whittle away such advantages as the Conventions 
secured to our fellow-subjects, the present sad situation 
need never have arisen. But British Governments are 
seldom fond of doing things at the right time, more 
especially if the issue is not sufficiently distinct to be 
appreciated by the masses of the electorate. There- 
fore matters were allowed to drift, and they drifted 


into that outrageous fiasco, the Jameson Kaid of 


Into the history of that event I do not propose to 
enter ; it is sufi&ciently well known. Suffice it to say 
in this brief summary, that it was the result of a 
compact under which Dr. Jameson was to come to 
Johannesburg with a large armed force of Ehodesian 
police, with the view of assisting the Uitlanders to 
obtain by arms what was denied to their petitions. 

The agreement is undoubted and admitted, but all 
the rest is chaos. Failure in a hundred shapes dogged 
the steps of these inefiective conspirators. Dr. Jameson, 
with 500 men instead of 1200, took the bit between his 
teeth and started at the wrong time. The Uitlanders 
did not sally forth to meet him, the wires were not 
cut, the railway line was not destroyed, the Boers were 
warned, and assembled in great numbers. Dr. Jameson, 
who apparently lost his way on the veld, was entrapped 
into a bad position, where, after a space of somewhat 
feeble combat, he and his whole force surrendered, 
their lives being guaranteed to them. The despatch' 
box of the raiders, with the ciphers and sundry in- 
criminating documents, was allowed to fall into the 
hands of th^ enemy, and, on their own ammunition- 
waggons, the personnel of the Kaid performed the 
journey to that city of Pretoria, which when reinforced 
by the Uitlanders they were to have entered in tri- 
umph. Thence they were in due course despatched 
to London for trial The members of the Reform 


Committee were also seized and tried at Pretoria, 
several of them being condemned to death, a sentence 
which was not executed ; the whole story, coming to 
its end to an accompaniment of the clash not of 
swords, but of gold ; the fines inflicted upon the con- 
spirators by the Transvaal Government amounting to 
a total of many tens of thousands of pounds. 

Such, except for mutual recriminations which still 
continue, was the end of Johannesburg's armed attempt 
to throw oflp the yoke of the Boer, and of the efforts 
of the ruling powers of Khodesia to assist them in 
the task. Of course the upshot was that the poor 
Uitlanders fell into a still deeper pit of oppression and 
despair. Lord Eosmead, then Sir Hercules Kobinson, 
never a proconsul remarkable for an iron will, it is 
true visited the Transvaal in a great flurry, and 
assured, or caused Sir Sidney Shippard and the British 
agent, a gentleman of the somewhat alien-sounding 
name of Sir Jacobus de Wet, in substance to assure 
the Uitlanders that if only they would disarm probably 
their wrongs must shortly be righted by a beneficent 
Boer president, assisted to the task by a Kaad full of 
forgiveness and charity. Moreover, Sir Jacobus de 
Wet told them explicitly that the lives of Jameson and 
his men depended upon their laying down such weapons 
as they possessed, although of course those lives were 
already guaranteed by the terms of the surrender. 

But this raid had wider issues of an imperial nature. 
Thus it provoked the famous telegram from the 


Emperor William II., which at one time threatened 
to bring about a war between Great Britain and 
Germany. Also, so far as these South African troubles 
were concerned, it put our country hopelessly in the 
wrong in the eyes of the civilised world, whom it 
proved difficult to persuade, although in fact this was 
the case, that such strange and tortuous develop- 
ments of political and martial activity were purely 
local in their origin. Again it armed the Boer with 
a sword of wondrous power. If Providence had sent 
all the German legions to his aid it could scarcely 
have served him better. Now indeed he was able 
to point to his land violated by the foot of the in- 
vader, and to talk of raids as though such a wicked 
word had never defiled the innocence of his ears; as 
though in truth he had never heard of the plains 
of Stellaland, and of a certain expedition sent by 
the British Government under the command of Sir 
Charles Warren to preserve those territories to the 
peaceful enjoyment of their owners; nor of that 
stretch of country which once belonged to the Zulus, 
but is now called the New Republic ; nor of the trek 
into Rhodesia that was " damped " ; nor of the extension 
of authority over Swaziland in defiance of the provisions 
of the Convention, and of other kindred matters. 

Also it enabled him to claim " moral and intellec- 
tual damages " to a considerable amount, although, so 
far as the public is aware, these have never been 
satisfied, and indeed caused Pharaoh to harden his 


heart, and while demanding from the new Israelites 
of Johannesburg an even heavier tale of bricks in the 
shape of direct and indirect taxation, to deprive them 
one by one of their last straws of freedom. 

Thus things fell back into their former courses, the 
old abuses flourished like bay trees, the lucky holders 
of dynamite and other monopolies grew fabulously 
rich, and — so powerful is the love of gold — auri sacra 
fames — so much more do men value it than freedom 
and pure government — the population of Johannesburg 
still increased. 

More than two years have gone by since Sir Alfred 
Milner was sent as High Commissioner to South 
Africa, during all which time, backed by her Majesty's 
present Government, he has been doing his best to 
secure redress for the Uitlanders, and to arrange various 
differences that have arisen between the Empire and 
the Transvaal Eepublic. At length these efforts re- 
sulted in the meeting between himself and President 
Kruger, known as the Bloemfontein Conference, which 
took place about four months ago. At that Conference 
Sir Alfred Milner advanced the request, modest enough 
seeing that they are entitled to nothing less than equal 
rights with the other "inhabitants of the Transvaal," 
that those Uitlanders who wished to adopt the country 
as their home should be entitled to the franchise after 
five years' residence. This was refused by President 
Kruger as endangering the independence of the State, 
and the Conference broke up. It was from this time 


forward that war came to be looked upon as probable. 
In reply to various despatches and representations of 
the Imperial Government, the President and Volksraad 
made certain offers of a franchise which, if they were 
ever seriously meant, were hampered with provisos, such 
as rendered them impossible for this country to accept. 
Thus the five years' offer of August 19 was coupled with 
the conditions that in the future there should be no 
interference in the internal affairs of the Eepublic, that 
her Majesty's Government would not further insist on 
the assertion of the suzerainty, and that the principle 
of arbitration in the event of future differences arising 
should be admitted. 

Had the Government agreed to these terms it would 
have meant, of course, that the last shadow of the 
Queen's authority would have vanished from the 
Transvaal, and as they had bound themselves not to in- 
terfere in future, that they might be forced to look on 
while the franchise which was granted one year was 
repealed or rendered nugatory the next. Also, it must 
be remembered that this question of the franchise does 
not cover all the grounds of difference between the 
two parties; indeed, it seems that a great deal too 
much importance has been given to the matter. Even 
if a certain number of Uitlanders elected to become 
citizens of a Boer state, it is difficult to see, however 
advantageous that circumstance might prove to them- 
selves, in what way it would directly assist the Imperial 
power on such a question, let us say, as the treatment 



of our Indian subjects settled in the Transvaal To 
begin with, the new-born burghers might be indifferent 
to the needs and wishes of the country they had re- 
nounced. They might even consider that their oath 
of allegiance bound them to oppose those wishes. At 
the least, even if they had the power to help us, which 
could not be the case for many years, surely it would be 
neither wise nor dignified for the Power to which they 
once belonged to trust solely to their good offices. 

In the newspapers and elsewhere Johannesburg and 
its Uitlanders are spoken of continually as though 
they made up the sum of the situation. It is the 
common cry of Liberal Forwards and of those gentle- 
men who might perhaps be called Eadical Backwards, 
that this war is to be waged for the Uitlander and 
the millionaire. Of course this is not in the least 
true. The Uitlander, with his woes, is only the blister 
that has brought the sore of Transvaal misrule and 
Dutch ambitions in South Africa to so proud a head, 
that at last the South African Eepublic has come to 
describe itself as "a Sovereign independent State." 
That he and his "Magnates," as Eand millionaires 
are called, will profit enormously from a successful 
war waged by the Imperial Power is admitted; but 
because the effect of such a struggle will be ultimately 
to put a number of annual millions into certain 
pockets, it does not follow that the war is fought for 
that purpose. Indeed the veriest "jingo" could 
scarcely show himself self-sacrificing and altruistic. 


This is no local but an Imperial question to be decided 
in the interests of the Empire. 

To return to the course of the negotiations. Offers, 
withdrawals, stipulations, palliative clauses, proposals 
for further conferences followed each other in be- 
wildering variety, till at length, worn out, Mr. 
Chamberlain, on September 22, intimated to the 
Government of the South African Kepublic, through 
Sir Alfred Milner, that it was "useless to further 
pursue a discussion on the lines hitherto followed, 
and her Majesty's Government are now compelled 
to consider the situation afresh, and to formulate their 
own proposals for a final settlement of the issues which 
have been created in South Africa by the policy con- 
stantly followed for many years by the Government 
of the South African Eepublic. They will communi- 
cate to you the result of their deliberations in a later 

It is rumoured that this later despatch has been 
delivered at Pretoria, but has as yet received no reply. 
Three days later, however, namely, on September 25, 
that industrious body, the Liberal Forwards, was 
honoured with a telegram from the State Secretary 
of the Transvaal, which runs as follows : — 

" Liberal Forwards, London. Many thanks for your 
telegram. We stick to the Convention, and rely upon 
England doing the saiiie, as Convention does not allow 
interference in internal affairs." 

When, however, it is remembered that the Con- 


vention did allow equal rights to all the " inhabitants 
of the Transvaal," it will be admitted that this cable 
is about the strangest of the remarkable series of State 
documents which of late have emanated from Pretoria. 
Very aptly it crystallises the spirit of Boer diplomacy 
— a bold disregard of inconvenient facts. 

Meanwhile in South Africa various events of im- 
portance have happened. The Orange Free State has 
openly thrown in its lot with the Transvaal. The 
Uitlanders have fled by thousands from Johannesburg. 
The Boers have massed their commandos at various 
points on the !N"atal and other British borders, pre- 
sumably for offensive purposes, since at present they 
can expect no invasion of their territory. The first 
of these occurrences reveals the hidden purpose of 
the Dutch party in South Africa, as at night a sudden 
flash of lightning reveals the face of the veld. We 
have never threatened the Orange Free State ; it has 
no grievance, no cause of quarrel, yet suddenly it 
appears in arms against us. Why? Because its 
citizens believe that the time has come to translate 
into action the old dream of the Boers, which so long 
as five-and-twenty years ago was familiar to the late 
President Burgers when he spoke of the coming 
Dutch Eepublic, with its eight millions of inhabi- 
tants ruling supreme in the vast territories between 
the Zambezi and the Cape. Now the great conspiracy 
that it has proved so hard to persuade the British 
public, or a ^lind section of it, to credit stands un- 


veiled, and it has for object nothing less than the 
expulsion of the English power from Southern 
Africa — a vain thing fondly imagined, but still a 
thing with which we must reckon, and it is to be 
feared by the last stern expedient of arms, since here 
soft words and diplomacy are of no avail. 

Difficult as it is to make the fact understood among 
a proportion of the home electorate and publicists, it 
cannot be stated too often or too clearly that this war, 
which is to come, is a war that was forced upon us by 
the Boers in their blind ignorance and conceit. The 
mass of them believe, because they defeated our troops 
in various small affairs in 1881, that they are a match 
for the British Empire. Their leaders are better 
instructed. They trust not so much, perhaps, to the 
rifles of their compatriots as to the prowess of 
certain party captains in England, and to the en- 
thusiasm of their advocates among the English Press 
and public. They remember that the activity of 
these forces eighteen years ago was followed by a 
miserable surrender on the part of the English 
Government, and not understanding how greatly 
opinion has changed in this country, they hope 
that history *may repeat itself, and that England, 
wearying of an unpopular struggle, will soon cede to 
them all they ask. They are mistaken, but such is 
their faith. They hope also, perchance with better 
reason, that other complications may force us to stay 
our hand. If no more telegrams can be extracted 


from the German Emperor, still there is a German 
regiment fighting on their side who will take with 
them the sympathies of the Fatherland, and they 
know that the hearts of the great Powers of Europe 
will go out towards any people who try to strike a 
blow at the root of the ever-growing tree of the 
might of the British Empire. Buoyed up by bubbles 
such as these they have determined to tempt the 
stern arbitrament of battle.^ 

Can it still be avoided ? It would seem that except 
by our surrender, which is out of the question, for that 
means the loss not only of South Africa, but of our 
prestige throughout the world, this is not in any way 
possible. Already acts of war have taken place, such 
as the seizure of the gold from the mines, and the 
commandeering of goods belonging to British subjects, 
and perhaps days before these lines can appear in 
print the guns will have begun their reasoning.^ • 

After the rebellion of 1881 a Boer jury, to whom 
the case was committed by the tender mercies of Mr. 
Gladstone's Government, with the murdered man's 

^ See the very remarkable letter of the Boer "P. S." to the 
Times of October 14th, printed as Appendix III. to this book, 
p. 241. 

* Since the above was written, in the swift march of events, the 
Transvaal has despatched its ** ultimatum," perhaps the most 
egregious document ever addressed to a great Power by a petty 
State. In effect it is a declaration of war, and hostilities have now 
commenced with the destruction by the Boers of an armoured 
train at Kraaipan, and the capture or slaying of its escort. 

14th October 1899. ^' ^ H* 


bullet-riddled skull lying before them upon the table 
of the Court, acquitted the brutal slaughterers of 
Captain Elliot, not because they had not done the 
deed with every circumstance of horrible treachery 
and premeditation, but because to find them guilty 
was against their brethren's wish. In much the same 
way, with all the facts staring them in the face, there 
are men in England, some of them of high position 
and character, who urge the righteousness of the Boer 
cause, and with tongue and pen paint our national 
iniquity in hues black as ink and red as blood. They 
write of the " Objects of the War," which they do not 
hesitate to describe as self-seeking and infamous, so 
far of course as the English people are concerned, 
for according to the same authorities, the Boer objects 
are uniformly pure and noble. Would it not be better 
if they looked back a little and tried to discover the 
causes of the war ? I think that if they could have 
witnessed a certain scene upon the market-square at 
Newcastle, at which it was my misfortune to be pre- 
sent, on that night of the year 1881 when the news 
of the base betrayal of the loyalists by England 
became known, they would win a better understand- 
ing of the question. In the spectacle of that mad- 
dened crowd of three or four thousand ruined and 
deserted men, English, Boer, and Kafi&r, raving, 
weeping, and blaspheming in the despair of their 
shame and bitterness, they might have found enlighten- 
ment. Even now a study of the following forgotten 


letter written by Mr. White, the chairman of the 
Committee of Loyal Inhabitants, to Mr. Gladstone, 
might give to some a food for thought : — 

" If, sir, you had seen, as I have seen, promising 
young citizens of Pretoria dying of wounds received for 
their country, and if you had had the painful duty, as I 
have had, of bringing to their friends at home the last 
mementoes of the departed ; if you had seen the priva- 
tions and discomforts which delicate women and children 
bore without murmuring for upwards of three months ; 
if you had seen strong men crying like children at the 
cruel and undeserved desertion of England ; if you had 
seen the long strings of half-desperate loyalists, shak- 
ing the dust off their feet as they left the country, as I 
saw on my way to Newcastle ; and if you yourself had 
invested your all on the strength of the word of Eng- 
land, and now saw yourself in a fair way of being 
beggared by the acts of the country in whom you 
trusted, you would, sir, I think, be * pronounced,' and 
England would ring with eloquent entreaties and 
threats which would compel a hearing. . . . We claim, 
sir, at least as much justice as the Boers. We are 
faithful subjects of England, and have suffered and are 
suffering for our fidelity. Surely we, the friends of our 
country, who stood by her in the time of trial, have as 
much right to consideration as rebels who fought against 
her. We rely on her word. We rely on the frequently 
repeated pledges and promises of her ministers in which 
we have trusted. We rely on her sense of moral right 



not to do us the grievous wrong which this miserable 
peace contemplates. We rely on her fidelity to obliga- 
tions, and on her ancient reputation for honour and 
honesty. We rely on the material consequences which 
will follow on a breach of faith to us. England cannot 
afford to desert us after having solemnly pledged her- 
self to us/' 

" England cannot afford to desert us ! " but England, 
or her rulers, could and did afford itself this luxury. 
In vain did such men as the late Lord Beaconsfield, 
the late Lord Cairns, and Lord Salisbury protest and 
point out dangers. In vain did agonised loyalists 
flourish their own words and promises in the face of 
her Majesty's Government ; the spirit of party, or the 
promptings of a newly acquired conscience proved too 
strong. Her Majesty's loyal subjects were sneered 
at, insulted, and abandoned, and the Boer, who had 
butchered them, was bid to go on and prosper. 

Now, nearly twenty years afterwards, England is 
called upon to pay the bill of what is in effect, what- 
ever may have been its motives, one of the most 
infamous acts that stains the pages of her history. 
From the moment that the Convention of 1881 was 
signed it became as certain as anything human can 
be, that one of two things would happen — either that 
the Imperial Power must in practice be driven out of 
South Africa, or that a time would come when it must 
be forced to assert its dominion even at the price 
of war. 


Now that miserable hour is with us, aud we are 
called upon to suppress by arms a small, but sullen 
and obstinate people, whom we have taught to believe 
themselves our equals, if not our superiors. Unless 
they will yield at the last moment, which seems im- 
possible seeing that the war is of their own choosing, 
the new settlement of South Africa must be celebrated 
by a mighty sacrifice of their blood and our blood, 
Not to dwell upon other griefs and dangers, when, 
I ask, will the smoke and the smell of it depart from 
the eyes and nostrils of the dwellers in that unhappy 
land ? As they troop back merrily to their mines and 
workshops the money-spinners of Johannesburg may 
forget a past of which, in many instances at least, their 
chief impression will be that it was unpleasant and un- 
profitable. But after the Band is worked out, when 
the stamps cease to fall heavily by day and night, when 
the great heaps of tailings no longer increase from 
month to month, when the broker's voice is quiet in 
the Exchange, and the promoter inhabits some new 
city, still the Boer women in the farmhouses will tell 
their children how the "damned English soldiers" shot 
their grandfathers and took the land. In South Africa 
new Irelands will arise, and from the dragon's teeth that 
we are forced to sow the harvest of hate will spring, and 
spring again. Thus must we eat of the bitter bread which 
we have baked, and thus the ill fowl that we reared have 
come home to roost, bringing their broods with them. 

Again and again we have blundered in our treatment 


of the Dutch. For instance, with kinder and fairer 
management they would never have trekked from the 
Cape sixty years ago. Also, had the promises which 
were made to them at the annexation in 1877 been 
kept, and had not Sir Theophilus Shepstone, who 
grew up amongst them and to whom they were 
attached, been removed in favour of a military 
martinet, there would have been no rebellion, let the 
Cape wire-pullers working under a cloak of loyalty to 
the Crown strive as they might. But the rebellion came 
and the defeats, and after these that surrender whereof 
this country is called upon to pluck the fruit to-day, 
which, by the Boers, is attributed to those defeats with 
the fear of their prowess and to nothing else. 

And now, in due season, the war comes ; an inevit- 
able war which cannot be escaped, and must be fought 
out to the end. There is only room for one paramount 
power in Southern Africa ! 

How all these things happened is told briefly, but I 
trust clearly, in the following pages. My excuse for 
reprinting them must be the desire which, it is said, 
exists among some readers to become better acquainted 
with the facts that engendered the present fateful 

gih October 1899. 


Author's Noti 

Its Inhabitants, Laws, and Customs. 


Invasion by Mosilikatzi — Arrival of the emigrant Boers — Estab- 
lishment of the South African Republic — The Sand River 
Convention — Growth of the territory of the republic — The 
native tribes surrounding it — Capabilities of the country — 
Its climate — Its inhabitants — The Boers — Their peculiarities 
and mode of life — Their abhorrence of settled government 
and payment of taxes — The Dutch patriotic party — Form 
of government previous to the annexation— Courts of law — 
— The commando system — Revenue arrangements — Native 
races in the Transvaal ....... 1-22 


Events Pbkgedino the Annexation. 

Mr. Bnrgen elected president — His character and aspirationa — 
His pension from the English Government — His visit to 
England — The railway loan — Relations of the republic with 
native tribes — The pass laws — Its quarrel with Cetywayo 
— Confiscation of native territory in the Keate Award — 
Treaty with the Swazi king — The Secocoeni war — Capture 
of Johannes' stronghold by the Swazi allies — Attack on 
Secocoeni'i mountain — Defeat and dispersion of the Boers 
— Elation of the natives — Von Schlickmann's volunteers — 
Cruelties perpetrated — Abel Erasmus — Treatment of natives 
by Boers — Public meeting at Potchefstroom in 1868 — The 
slavery question — Some evidence on the subject — Pecuniary 
position of the Transvaal prior to the annexation — Internal 
troubles — Divisions amongst the Boers — Hopeless condition 
of the couptry 23-49 

xxviu CONTENTS. 


The Annexation. 

Anxiety of Lord Carnarvon — Despatch of Sir T. Shepstone as 
Special Commissioner to the Transvaal — Sir T. Shepstone, 
bis great experience and ability — His progress to Pretoria, 
and reception there — Feelings excited by the arrival of the 
mission — The annexation not a foregone conclusion — Charge 
brought against Sir T. Shepstone of having called up the 
Zulu array to sweep the Transvaal — Its complete false- 
hood — Cetywayo's message to Sir T. Shepstone — Evidence 
on the matter summed up — General desire of the natives 
for English rule — Habitual disregard of their interests — 
Assembly of the Volksraad — Kejection of Lord Carnarvon's 
Confederation Bill and of President Burgers' new con- 
stitution — President Burgers' speeches to the Raad — His 
posthumous statement — Communication to the Kaad of Sir 
T. Shepstone's intention to annex the country — Despatch of 
Commission to inquire into the alleged peace with Secocoeni 
— Its fraudulent character discovered — Progress of affairs in 
the Transvaal — Paul Kruger and his party — Restlessness of 
natives — Arrangements for the annexation — The annexation 
proclamation .,,.,,,» 50-86 


The Transvaal under British Rule. 

Reception of the annexation — Major Clarke and the Volunteers 
— Effect of the annexation on credit and commerce — Hoist- 
ing of the Union Jack — Ratification of the annexation by 
Parliament — Messrs. Kruger and Jorissen's mission to 
England — Agitation against the annexation in the Cape 
Colony — Sir T. Shepstone's tour— Causes of the growth of 
discontent among the Boers — Return of Messrs. Jorissen 
and Kruger — The Government dispenses with their services 
— Despatch of a second deputation to England — Outbreak 
of war with Secocoeni — Major Clarke, RA. — The Gunn of 
Gunn plot — Mission of Captain Paterson and Mr. Sergeaunt 
to Matabeleland — Its melancholy termination — The Isand- 
hlwana disaster — Departure of Sir T. Shepstone for England 


—Another Boer meeting — The Pretoria Horse — Advance of 
the Boers on Pretoria— Arrival of Sir B. Frere at Pretoria 
and dispersion of the Boers— Arrival of Sir Garnet Wolse- 
ley— His proclamation— The SecoccBni expedition— Proceed- 
ings of the Boers— Mr. Pretorius— Mr. Gladstone's Mid- 
Lothian speeches, their effect — Sir G. Wolseley's speech at 
Pretoria, its good results — Influx of Englishmen and cessation 
of agitation — Financial position of the country after three 
years of British rule— Letter of the Boer leaders to Mr. 
Courtney 87-119 


The Boeb Rebellion. 

A-ccession of Mr. Gladstone to power — His letters to the Boer 
leaders and the loyals — His refusal to rescind the annexation 
— The Boers encouraged by prominent members of the Radi- 
cal party — The Bezuidenhout incident — Despatch of troops to 
Potchefstroom — Mass meeting of the 8th December 1880 — 
Appointment of the Triumvirate and declaration of the re- 
public — Despatch of Boer proclamation to Sir O. Lanyon — 
His reply — Outbreak of hostilities at Potchefstroom — De- 
fence of the court-house by Major Clarke — The massacre of 
the detachment of the 94th under Colonel Anstruther — Dr. 
Ward — The Boer rejoicings — The Transvaal placed under 
martial law — Abandonment of their homes by the people of 
Pretoria — Sir Owen Lanyon's admirable defence organisation 
— Second proclamation issued by the Boers — Its complete 
falsehood — Life at Pretoria during the siege — Murders of 
natives by the Boers — Loyal conduct of the native chiefs — 
Difficulty of preventing them from attacking the Boers — 
Occupation of Lang's Nek by the Boers — Sir George Colley's 
departure to Newcastle— The condition of that town — The 
attack on Lang's Nek — Its desperate nature — Effect of vic- 
tory on the Boers — The battle at the Ingogo — Our defeat 
— Sufferings of the wounded — Major Essex — Advance of the 
Boers into Natal — Constant alarms— Expected attack on 
Newcastle— Its unorganised and indefensible condition — 
Arrival of the reinforcements and retreat of the Boers to 
the Nek — Despatch of General Wood to bring up more re- 
inforcements — Majuba Hill — Our disaster, and death of Sir 
George Col ley — Cause of our defeat — A Boer version of the 
disMter — Sir Greorge Colley's tactics . . . . 120-155 




The Retbooission op thb Tbansvaau 

The Queen's Speech — President Brand and Lord Kimberley — Sir 
Henry de Villiers — Sir George Colley's plan — Paul Kruger's 
offer — Sir George Colley's remonstrance — Complimentary 
telegrams — Effect of Majuba on the Boers and English 
Government — Collapse of the Government — Reasons of the 
surrender — Professional sentimentalists — The Transvaal In- 
dependence Committee — Conclusion of the armistice — The 
preliminary peace — Reception of the news in Natal — New- 
castle after the declaration of peace — Exodus of the loyal 
inhabitants of the Transvaal — The value of property in 
Pretoria — The Transvaal ofl&cials dismissed — The Royal 
Commission — Mode of trial of persons accused of atrocities — 
Decision of the Commission and its results — The severance . 
of territory question— Arguments pro and con — Opinion of 
Sir E. Wood — Humility of the Commissioners and its cause 
— ^Their decision on the Keate Award question — TheMontsioa 
difl&culty — The compensation and financial clauses of the re- 
port of the Commission — The duties of the British Resident 
— Sir E. Wood's dissent from the report of the Commission 
— Signing of the Convention — Burial of the Union Jack — 
The native side of the question — Interview between the 
Commissioners and the native chiefs — Their opinion of the 
surrender — Objections of the Boer Volksraad to the Con- 
vention — Mr. Gladstone temporises — The ratification — Its 
insolent tone — Mr. Hudson, the British Resident — The Boer 
festival — The results of the Convention — The larger issue of 
the matter — Its effect on the Transvaal — Its moral aspects 
— Its effect on the native mind ..... 156-203 

Extract from Introduction to new edition of 18S8 • • aoj 


I. The Potchefstroom Atrocities, &c 231 

II. Pledges given by Mr. Gladstone's Government as to the 

Retention of the Transvaal 239 

III. A Boer on Boer Designs 241 




The Transvaal is a country without a history. Its 
very existence was hardly known of until about fifty 
years ago. Of its past we know nothing. The genera- 
tions who peopled its great plains have passed utterly 
out of the memory and even the tradition of man, 
leaving no monument to mark that they have existed, 
not even a tomb. 

During the reign of Chaka, i8 13-1828, whose 
history has been sketched in a previous chapter, one 
of his most famous generals, Mosilikatze, sumamed the 
Lion, seceded from him with a large number of his 
soldiers, and striking up in a north-westerly direction, 
settled in or about what is now the Morico district of 
the Transvaal. The country through which Mosilikatze 
passed was at that time thickly populated with natives 
of the Basuto or Macatee race, whom the Zulus look 
upon with great contempt. Mosilikatze expressed the 
feelings of his tribe in a practical manner, by mas- 
sacring ftvery living soul of them that came within 


his reach. That the numbers slaughtered were very 
great, the numerous ruins of Basuto kraals all over 
the country testify. 

It was Chaka's intention to follow up Mosilikatze 
and destroy him, but he was himself assassinated be- 
fore he could do so. Dingaan, his successor, how- 
ever, carried out his brother's design, and despatched a 
large force to punish him. This army, after marching 
over 300 miles, burst upon Mosilikatze, drove him 
back with slaughter, and returned home triumphant 
The invasion is important, because the Zulus claim 
the greater part of the Transvaal territory by virtue 
of it. 

About the time that Mosilikatze was conquered, 
1 83 5-1 840, the discontented Boers were leaving the 
Cape Colony exasperated at the emancipation of the 
slaves by the Imperial authorities. First they made 
their way to Natal, but being followed thither by the 
English flag they travelled further inland over the 
Vaal Eiver and founded the town of Mooi Eiver Dorp 
or Potchefstroom. Here they were joined by other mal- 
contents from the Orange Sovereignty, which, though 
afterwards abandoned, was at that time a British 
possession. Acting upon 

** The good old nile, the simple plan, 
Of let him take who has the power, 
And let him keep who can," 

the Boers now proceeded to possess themselves of as 
much territory as they wanted. Nor was this a difi&- 
cult task. The country was, as I have said, peopled 
by Macatees, who are a poor-spirited race as compared 
to the Zulus, and had had what little courage they 


possessed crushed out of them by the rough handling 
they had received at the hands of Mosilikatze and 
Dingaan. The Boers, they argued, could not treat 
them worse than the Zulus had done. Occasionally 
a chief, bolder than the rest, would hold out, and then 
such an example was made of him and his people that 
few cared to follow in his footsteps. 

As soon as the Boers were fairly settled in their 
new home, they began to think about setting up a 
G-overnment. First they tried a system of Comman- 
dants, with a Commandant-general, but this does not 
seem to have answered. Next, those of their number 
who lived in Lydenburg district (where the gold-fields 
now are) set up a Eepublic, with a President and 
Volksraad, or popular assembly. This example was 
followed by the other white inhabitants of the country, 
who formed another Eepublic and elected another 
President, with Pretoria for their capital The two 
republics were subsequently incorporated. 

In 1852 the Imperial authorities, having regard to 
the expense of maintaining an effective government 
over an unwilling people in an undeveloped and half- 
conquered country, concluded a convention with the 
emigrant Boers " beyond the Vaal Eiver." The fol- 
lowing were the principal stipulations of this conven- 
tion, drawn up 'between Major Hogg and Mr. Owen, 
Her Majesty's Assistant- Commissioners for the settling 
and adjusting of the affairs of the eastern and north- 
eastern boundaries of the Colony of the Cape of Good 
Hope on the one part, and a deputation representative 
of the emigrant farmers north of the Vaal Eiver on 
the other. It was guaranteed " in the fullest manner 
on the part of the British Government to the emigrant 


farmers beyond the Vaal Kiver the right to manage 
their own affairs, and to govern themselves according 
to their own laws, without any interference on the 
part of the British Government, and that no encroach- 
ment shall be made by the said Government on the 
territory beyond to the north of the Vaal Kiver, with 
the further assurance that the warmest wish of the 
British Government is to promote peace, free trade, 
and friendly intercourse with the emigrant farmers 
now inhabiting, or who hereafter may inhabit that 
country, it being understood that this system of non- 
interference is binding on both parties." 

. Next were disclaimed, on behalf of the British 
Government, " all alliances whatever and with whom- 
soever of the coloured nations to the north of the 
Vaal Kiver." 

It was also agreed "that no slavery is or shall be 
permitted or practised in the country to the north of 
the Vaal Kiver by the emigrant farmers." 

It was further agreed " that no objection shall be 
made by any British authority against the emigrant 
Boers purchasing their supplies of ammunition in any 
of the British colonies and possessions of South 
Africa ; it being mutually understood that all trade 
in ammunition with the native tribes is prohibited 
both by the British Government and the emigrant 
farmers on both sides of the Vaal Kiver." 

These were the terms of this famous convention, 
which is as slipshod in its diction as it is vague in 
its meaning. What, for instance, is meant by the 
territory to the north of the Vaal Kiver ? According 
to the letter of the agreement, Messrs. Hogg and Owen 
ceded all the territory between the Vaal and Egypt 


This historical document was the Charta of the new- 
bom South African Kepublic. Under its provisions, 
the Boers, now safe from interference on the part of 
the British, established their own Government and 
promulgated their " Grond Wet," or Constitution. 

The history of the Eepublic between 1852 and 
1876 is not very interesting, and is besides too weari- 
some to enter into hera It consists of an oft-told tale 
of civil broils, attacks on native tribes, and encroach- 
ment on native territories. Until shortly before the 
Annexation, every burgher was, on coming of age, en- 
titled to receive from the Government 6000 acres 
of land. As these rights were in the early days of 
the Eepublic frequently sold to speculators for such 
trifles as a bottle of brandy or half a dozen of beer, 
and as the seller still required his 6000 acres : for a 
Boer considers it beneath his dignity to settle on less, 
it is obvious that it required a very large country 
to satisfy all demands. To meet these demands, the 
territories of the Eepublic had to be stretched like an 
elastic band, and they were stretched accordingly, — at 
the expense of the natives. The stretching process 
was an ingenious one, and is very well described in a 
minute written by Mr. Osborn, the late magistrate 
at Newcastle, dated 2 2d September 1876, in these 
words : — 

" The Boers, as they have done in other cases and 
are still doing, encroached by degrees on native terri- 
tory, commencing by obtaining permission to graze 
stock upon portions of it at certain seasons of the 
year, followed by individual graziers obtaining from 
native headmen a sort of right or license to squat 
upon certain defined portions, ostensibly in order to 


keep other Boer squatters away from the same land. 
These licenses, temporarily intended as friendly or 
neighbourly acts by unauthorised headmen, after a 
few seasons of occupation by the Boer, are construed 
by him as title, and his permanent occupation ensues. 
Damage for trespass is levied by him from the very 
man from whom he obtained the right to squat, to 
which the natives submit out of fear of the matter 
reaching the ears of the paramount chief, who would 
in all probability severely punish them for opening the 
door to encroachment by the Boer. After a while, 
however, the matter comes to a crisis in consequence 
of the incessant disputes between the Boers and the 
natives; one or other of the disputants lays the case 
before the paramount chief, who, when hearing both 
parties, is literally frightened with violence and threats 
by the Boer into granting him the land. Upon this 
the usual plan followed by the Boer is at once to 
collect a few neighbouring Boers, including a field 
cornet, or even an acting provisional field cornet, 
appointed by the field cornet or provisional comet, the 
latter to represent the Government, although without 
instructions authorising him to act in the matter. A 
few cattle are collected among themselves, which the 
party takes to the chief, and his signature is obtained 
to a written document alienating to the Eepublican 
Boers a large slice of all his territory. The contents 
of this document are, as far as I can make out, never 
clearly or intelligibly explained to the chief, who signs 
and accepts of the cattle under the impression that 
it is all in settlement of hire for the grazing licenses 
granted by his headmen. This, I have no hesitation 
in saying, is the usual method by which the Boej* 


obtain what they call cessions to them of territories 
by native chiefs. In Secocoeni's case they allege that 
his father Sequati cedes to them the whole of his terri- 
tory (hundreds of square miles) for a hundred head of 

So rapidly did this process go on that the little 
Republic to the *' North of the Vaal Eiver " had at the 
time of the Annexation grown into a country of the 
size of France. Its boundaries had only been clearly 
defined where they abutted on neighbouring White 
Communities, or on the territories of great native 
powers, on which the Government had not dared to 
infringe to any marked degree, such as those of Lo 
Bengula's people in the north. But wheresoever on 
the State's borders there had been no white Power 
to limit its advances, or where the native tribes had 
found themselves too isolated or too weak to resist 
aggressions, there the Eepublic had by degrees en- 
croached, and extended the shadow, if not the sub- 
stance, of its authority. 

The Transvaal has a boundary line of over 1600 
miles in circumference, and of this a large portion is 
disputed by difierent native tribes. Speaking generally, 
the territory lies between the 22° and 28"* of South 
Latitude and the 25° and 32** of East Longitude, or 
between the Orange Free State, Natal and Griqualand 
West on the* south, and the Limpopo River on the 
north ; and between the Lebombo mountains on the 
east, and the Kalihari desert on the west. On the 
north of its territory live three great tribes — the 
Makalaka, the Matabele, (descendants of the Zulus who 
deserted Chaka under Mosilikatze), and the Matyana. 
These tribes are all warlike. On the west, following 


the line down to the Diamond Field territory, are the 
Sicheli, the Bangoaketsi, the Baralong, and the Koranna 
tribes. Passing round by Griqualand West, the Free 
State, and Natal, we reach Zululand on the south-east 
corner; then come the Lebombo mountains on the 
east, separating the Transvaal from Amatonga land, 
and from the so-called Portuguese possessions, which 
are entirely in the hands of native tribes, most of 
them subject to the great Zulu chief, Umzeila, who 
has his stronghold in the north-east. 

It will be observed that the country is almost sur- 
rounded by native tribes. Besides these there are 
about one million native inhabitants living within its 
borders. In one district alone, Zoutpansberg, it is 
computed that there are 364,250 natives, as compared 
to about 750 whites. 

If a beautiful and fertile country were alone 
necessary to make a state and its inhabitants happy 
and prosperous, happiness and prosperity would rain 
upon the Transvaal and the Dutch Boers. The capa- 
bilities of this favoured land are vast and various. 
Within its borders are to be found highlands and low- 
lands, vast stretches of rolling veldt like gigantic 
sheep downs, hundreds of miles of swelling bushland, 
huge tracts of mountainous country, and even little 
glades spotted with timber that remind one of an 
English park. J'here is every possible variety of soil 
and scenery. Some districts will grow all tropical 
produce, whilst others are well suited for breeding 
sheep, cattle, and horses. Most of the districts will 
produce wheat and all other cereals in greater per- 
fection and abundance than any of the other South 
African colonies. Two crops of cereals may be 


obtained from the soil every year, and both the vine 
and tobacco are cultivated with great success. Coffee, 
sugar-cane, and cotton have been grown with profit 
in the northern parts of the State. Also the un- 
developed mineral wealth of the country is very great 
Its known minerals are gold, copper, lead, cobalt, iron, 
coal, tin, and plumbago : copper and iron having long 
been worked by the natives. Altogether there is 
little doubt that the Transvaal is the richest of all the 
South African states, and had it remained under English 
rule it would, with the aid of English enterprise and 
capital, have become a very wealthy and prosperous 
country. However there is little chance of that now. 

Perhaps the greatest charm of the Transvaal lies in 
its climate, which is among the best in the world, and 
in all the southern districts very healthy. During 
the winter months — that is, from April to October 
— little or no rain falls, and the climate is cold and 
bracing. In summer it is rather warm, but not over- 
poweringly hot, the thermometer at Pretoria averaging 
from 65° to 73* and in the winter from 59* to 65^ 
The population of the Transvaal is estimated at about 
40,000 whites, mostly of Dutch origin, consisting of 
about thirty vast families; and one million natives. 
There are several towns, the largest of which are 
Pretoria and Potchefstroom. 

Such is the country that we annexed in 1877, and 
were drummed out of in 1881. Now let us turn 
to its inhabitants. It has been the fashion to talk 
of the Transvaal as though nobody but Boers lived 
in it. In reality the inhabitants were divided into 
three classes : i. Natives; 2, Boers; 3. English. I 
say were divided, because the English class can now 


hardly be said to exist, the country having been 
made too hot to hold it since the war. The natives 
Bttind in the proportion of nearly twenty to one to 
the whites. The Boers were in their turn much 
more numerous than the English, but the latter owned 
nearly all the trading establishments in the country, 
and also a very large amount of property. 

The Transvaal Boers have been very much praised 
up by members of the Government in England, and 
others who are anxious to advance their interests, 
as against English interests. Mr. Gladstone, indeed, 
can hardly find words strong enough to express his 
admiration of their leaders, those "able men," since 
they inflicted a national humiliation on us ; and doubt- 
less they are a people with many good points. That 
they are not devoid of sagacity can be seen by the way 
they have dealt with the English Government. 

The Boers are certainly a peculiar people, though 
they can hardly be said to be " zealous of good works." 
They are very religious, but their religion takes its 
colour from the darkest portions of the Old Testa- 
ment ; lessons of mercy and gentleness are not at all to 
their liking, and they seldom care to read the Gospels. 
What they delight in are the stories of wholesale 
butchery by the Israelites of old ; and in their own 
position they find a reproduction of that of the first 
settlers in the Holy Land. Like them they think 
they are entrusted by the Almighty with the task of 
exterminating the heathen native tribes around them, 
and are always ready with a scriptural precedent for 
slaughter and robbery. The name of the Divinity 
is continually on their lips, sometimes in connection 
with very doubtful statements. Thev are divided 


into three sects, none of which care much for the 
other two. These are the Doppers, who number 
about half the population, the Orthodox Eeform, and 
the Liberal Eeform, which is the least numerous. Of 
these three sects the Doppers are by far the most un- 
compromising and difficult to deal with. They much 
resemble the Puritans of Charles the First's time, of 
the extreme Hew-Agag-in-pieces stamp. 

It is difficult to agree with those who call the 
Boers cowards, an accusation which the whole of their 
history belies. A Boer does not like fighting if he 
can avoid it, because he sets a high value on his own 
life ; but if he is cornered, he will fight as well as 
anybody else. The Boers fought well enough in the 
late war, though that, it is true, is no great criterion 
of courage, since they were throughout flushed with 
victory, and, owing to the poor shooting of the British 
troops, in but little personal danger. One very un- 
pleasant characteristic they have, and that is an 
absence of regard for the truth, especially where land 
is concerned. Indeed the national characteristic is 
crystallised into a proverb, " I am no slave to my 
word." It has several times happened to me to see 
one set of highly respectable witnesses in a land case 
go into the box and swear distinctly that they saw 
a beacon placed on a certain spot, whilst an equal 
number on the other side will swear that they saw it 
placed a mile away. Filled as they are with a land 
hunger, to which that of the Irish peasant is a weak 
and colourless sentiment, there is little that they will 
not do to gratify their tasta It is the subject of 
constant litigation amongst them, and it is by no 
means uncommon for a Boer to spend several thousand 


pounds in lawsuits over a piece of land not worth as 
many hundreds. 

Personally Boers are fine men, but as a rule ugly. 
Their women-folk are good-looking in early life, but 
get very stout as they grow older. They, in common 
with most of their sex, understand how to use their 
tongues; indeed, it is said that it was the women 
who caused the rising against the English Government 
None of the refinements of civilisation enter into the 
life of an ordinary Transvaal Boer. He lives in a way 
that would shock an English labourer at twenty-five 
shillings the week, although he is very probably worth 
fifteen or twenty thousand pounds. His home is but 
too frequently squalid and filthy to an extraordinary 
degree. He himself has no education, and does not 
care that his children should receive any. He lives 
by himself in the middle of a great plot of land, his 
nearest neighbour being perhaps ten or twelve miles 
away, caring but little for the news of the outside 
world and nothing for its opinions, doing very little 
work, but growing daily richer through the increase of 
his flocks and herds. His expenses are almost nothing, 
and as he gets older wealth increases upon him. 
The events in his life consist of an occasional trip on 
** commando " against some native tribe, attending a 
few political meetings, and the journeys he makes with 
his family to the nearest town, some four times a year, 
in order to be present at " Nachtmaal " or communion. 
Foreigners, especially Englishmen, he detests, but he 
is kindly and hospitable to his own people. Living 
isolated as he does, the lord of a little kingdom, he 
naturally comes to have a great idea of himself, and 
a corresponding contempt for all the rest of mankind. 


Laws and taxes are things distasteful to him, and he 
looks upon it as an impertinence that any court 
should venture to call him to account for his doings. 
He is rich and prosperous, and the cares of poverty, 
and all the other troubles that fall to the lot of civilised 
men, do not affect him. He has no romance in him, 
nor any of the higher feelings and aspirations that are 
found in almost every other race ; in short, unlike the 
Zulu he despises, there is little of the gentleman in 
his composition, though he is at times capable of acts 
of kindness and even generosity. His happiness is to 
live alone in the great wilderness, with his children, 
his men-servants, and his maid-servants, his flocks and 
his herds, the monarch of all he surveys. If civilisa- 
tion presses him too closely, his remedy is a simple 
one. He sells his farm, packs up his goods and cash 
in his waggon, and starts for regions more congenially 
wild. Such are some of the leading characteristics of 
that remarkable product of South Africa, the Transvaal 
Boer, who resembles no other white man in the world. 
Perhaps, however, the most striking of all his 
oddities is his abhorrence of all government, more 
especially if that government be carried out according 
to English principles. The Boers have always been 
more or less in rebellion; they rebelled against the 
rule of the Company when the Cape belonged to 
Holland, they rebelled against the English Govern- 
ment in the Cape, they were always in a state of semi- 
rebellion against their own Government in the Trans- 
vaal, and now they have for the second time, with the 
most complete success, rebelled against the English 
Government. The fact of the matter is that the hviW 
of their number hate all Governments, because Govern- 


ments enforce law and order, and they hate the 
English Government worst of all because it enforces 
law and order most of all. It is not liberty they long 
for, but license. The " sturdy independence " of the 
Boer resolves itself into a determination not to have 
his affairs interfered with by any superior power what- 
soever, and not to pay taxes if he can possibly avoid 
it. But he has also a specific cause of complaint 
against the English Government, which would alone 
cause him to do his utmost to get rid of it, and that 
is its mode of dealing with natives, which is radically 
opposite to his own. This is the secret of Boer 
patriotism. To understand it, it must be remembered 
that the Englishman and the Boer look at natives 
from a very different point of view. The Englishman, 
though he may not be very fond of him, at any rate 
regards the Kafir as a fellow human being with feelings 
like his own. The average Boer does not. He looks 
upon the " black creature " as having been delivered 
into his hand by the " Lord " for his own purposes, 
that is, to shoot and enslave. He must not be blamed 
too harshly for this, for, besides being naturally of a 
somewhat hard disposition, hatred of the native is 
hereditary, and is partly induced by the history of 
many a bloody struggle. Also the native hates the 
Boer fully as much as the Boer hates the native, 
though with better reason. Now native labour is a 
necessity to the Boer, because he will not as a rule do 
hard manual labour himself, and there must be some 
one to plant and garner the crops and herd the cattle. 
On the other hand, the natives are not anxious to 
serve the Boers, which means little or no pay and 
plenty of thick stick, and sometimes worse. The 


result of this state of affairs is that the Boer often has 
to rely on forced labour to a very great extent. But 
this is a thing that an English Government will not 
tolerate, and the consequence is that under its rule he 
cannot get the labour that is necessary to him. 

Then there is the tax question. If he lives under 
the English flag the money has to be paid regularly, 
but under his own Government he pays or not as he 
likes. It was this habit of his of refusing payment 
of taxes that brought the Eepublic into difficulties 
in 1877, and that will ere long bring it into trouble 
again. He cannot understand that cash is necessary 
to carry on a Government, and looks upon a tax as 
though it were so much money stolen from him. 
These things are the real springs of the " sturdy 
independence " and the patriotism of the ordinary 
Transvaal farmer. Doubtless there are some who are 
really patriotic ; for instance, one of their leaders, Paul 
Kruger. But with the majority, patriotism is only 
another word for unbounded license and forced labour. 

These remarks must not be taken to apply to the 
Cape Boers, who are a superior class of men, since 
they, living under a settled and civilised Government, 
have been steadily improving, whilst their cousins, 
living every man for his own hand, have been deterio- 
rating. The. old Voortrekkers, the fathers and grand- 
fathers of the Transvaal Boer of to-day, were, without 
doubt, a very fine set of men, and occasionally you 
may in the Transvaal meet individuals of the same 
stamp whom it is a pleasure to know. But these are 
generally men of a certain age, with some experience 
of the world ; the younger men are very objectionable 
in their manners. 


The real Dutch Patriotic party is not to be found 
in the Transvaal, but in the Cape Colony. Their 
object, which, as affairs now are, is well within the 
bounds of possibility, is by fair means or foul to 
swamp the English element in South Africa, and to 
establish a great Dutch Kepublic. It was this party, 
which consists of clever and well educated men, who 
raised the outcry against the Transvaal Annexation, 
because it meant an enormous extension of English 
influence, and who had the wit, by means of their 
emissaries and newspapers, to work upon the feeling 
of the ignorant Transvaal farmers until they persuaded 
them to rebel ; and finally, to avail themselves of the 
yearnings of English radicalism for the disruption of 
the Empire and the minimisation of British authority, 
to get the Annexation cancelled. All through this 
business the Boers have more or less danced in obedi- 
ence to strings pulled at Cape Town, and it is now 
said that one of the chief wire-pullers, Mr. Hofmeyer, 
is to be asked to become President of the Eepublic. 
These men are the real patriots of South Africa, and 
very clever ones too — not the Transvaal Boers, who 
vapour about their blood and their country and the 
accursed Englishman to order, and are in reality 
influenced by very small motives, such as the desire 
to avoid payment of taxes, or to hunt away a neigh- 
bouring Englishman, whose civilisation and refinement 
are as offensive as his farm is desirable. Such are 
the Dutch inhabitants of the Transvaai. I will now 
give a short sketch of their institutions as they were 
before the Annexation, and to which the community 
has reverted since its recision, with, I believe, but fev 


The form of government is republican, and to 
all intents and purposes manhood suffrage prevails, 
supreme power resting in the people. The executive 
power of the State centres in a President elected by 
the people to hold office for a term of five years, every 
voter having a voice in his election. He is assisted 
in the execution of his duties by an Executive Council, 
consisting of the State Secretary and such other three 
members as are selected for that purpose by the legis- 
lative body, the Volksraad. The State Secretary 
holds office for four years, and is elected by the Volks- 
raad. The members of the Executive have all seats 
in the Volksraad, but have no votes. The Volksraad 
is the legislative body of the State, and consists of 
forty-two members. The country is divided into 
twelve electoral districts, each of which has the right 
to return three members ; the Gold Fields have also 
the right of electing two members, and the four prin- 
cipal towns one member each. There is no power in 
the State competent to either prorogue or dissolve the 
Volksraad except that body itself, so that an appeal to 
the country on a given subject or policy is impossible 
without its concurrence. Members are elected for 
four years, but half retire by rotation every two years, 
the vacancies being filled by re-elections. Members 
must have been voters for three years, and be not less 
than thirty years of age, must belong to a Protestant 
Church, be resident in the country, and owners of 
immovable property therein. A father and son cannot 
sit in the same Eaad, neither can seats be occupied 
by coloured persons, bastards, or officials. 

For each electoral district there is a magistrate or 
Landdrost, whose duties are similar to those of a Civil 



Commissioner. These districts are again subdivided 
into wards presided over by field cornets, who exercise 
judicial powers in minor matters, and in times of war 
have considerable authority. The Koman Dutch law 
is the common law of the country, as it is of the 
colonies of the Cape of Good Hope and Natal, and of 
the Orange Free State. 

Prior to the Annexation justice was administered 
in a very primitive fashion. First, there was the 
Landdrosts' Court, from which an appeal lay to a court 
consisting of the Landdrost and six councillors elected 
by the public. This was a court of first instance as 
well as a court of appeal. Then there was a Supreme 
Court, consisting of three Landdrosts from three dif- 
ferent districts, and a jury of twelve selected from the 
burghers of the State. There was no appeal from this 
court, but cases have sometimes been brought under 
the consideration of the Volksraad as the supreme 
power. It is easy to imagine what the administration 
of justice was like when the presidents of all the law 
courts in the country were elected by the mob, not on 
account of their knowledge of the law, but because 
they were popular. Suitors before the old Transvaal 
courts found the law surprisingly uncertain. A High 
Court of Justice was, however, established after the 
Annexation, and has been continued by the Volks- 
raad, but an agitation is being got up against it, and 
it will possibly be abolished in favour of the old 

In such a community as that of the Transvaal 
Boers the question of public defence was evidently of 
the first importance. This is provided for under what 
is known as the Commando system. The President 


with the concurrence of the Executive Council, has 
the right of declaring war, and of calling up a com- 
mando, in which the burghers are placed under the 
field cornets and commandants. These last are chosen 
by the field cornets for each district, and a Com- 
mandant-general is chosen by the whole laager or 
force, but the President is the Commander-in-Chief of 
the army. All the inhabitants of the State between 
sixteen and sixty, with a few exceptions, are liable for 
service. Young men under eighteen, and men over 
fifty, are only called out under circumstances of 
emergency. Members of the Volksraad, officials, 
clergymen, and school-teachers are exempt from per- 
sonal service, unless martial law is proclaimed, but 
must contribute an amount not exceeding £is towards 
the expense of the war. All legal proceedings in 
civil cases are suspended against persons on com- 
mando, no smnmonses can be made out, and as soon 
as martial law is proclaimed no legal execution can be 
prosecuted, the pounds are closed, and transfer dues 
payments are suspended until after thirty days from 
the recall of the proclamation of martial law. Owners 
of land residing beyond the borders of the Eepublic 
are also liable, in addition to the ordinary war tax, to 
place a fit and proper substitute at the disposal of the 
Government, or otherwise to pay a fine of £1$* The 
first levy of the burghers is, of men from eighteen to 
thirty-four years of age; the second, thirty-four to 
fifty; and the third, from sixteen to eighteen, and 
from fifty to sixty years. Every man is bound to 
provide himself with clothing, a gun, and ammunition, 
and there must be enough waggons and oxen found 
between them to suffice for their joint use. Of the 


booty taken, one quarter goes to Government, and the 
rest to the burghers. The most disagreeable part of 
the commandeering system is, however, yet to come ; 
personal service is not all that the resident in the 
Transvaal Republic has to endure. The right is vested 
in field cornets to commandeer articles as well as 
individuals, and to call upon inhabitants to furnish 
requisites for the commando. As may be imagined, it 
goes very hard on these occasions with the property of 
any individual whom the field cornet may not happen 
to like. 

Each ward is expected to turn out its contingent 
ready and equipped for war, and this can only be 
done by seizing goods right and left. One unfortunate 
will have to find a waggon, another to deliver over 
his favourite span of trek oxen, another his riding- 
horse or some slaughter cattle, and so on. Even 
when the officer making the levy is desirous of doing 
his duty as fairly as he can, it is obvious that very 
great hardships must be inflicted under such a system. 
Requisitions are made more with regard to what is 
wanted than with a view to an equitable distribution 
of demands ; and like the Jews in the time of the 
Crusades, he who has got most must pay most, or take 
the consequences, which may be unpleasant. Articles 
which are not perishable, such as waggons, are sup- 
posed to be returned, but if they come back at all they 
are generally worthless. 

In case of war, the native tribes living within the 
borders of the State are also expected to furnish con- 
tingents, and it is on them that most of the hard 
work of the campaign generally falls. They are put 
in the front of the battle, and have to do the hand- 


to-hand fighting, which, however, if of the Zulu race, 
they do not object to. 

The revenue of the State is so arranged that the 
burden of it should fall as much as possible on the 
trading community, and as little as possible on the 
farmer. It is chiefly derived from licenses on trades, 
professions, and callings, 30s. per annum quit-rent on 
farms, transfer dues and stamps, auction dues, court 
fees, and contributions from such native tribes as can 
be made to pay them. Since we have given up the 
country, the Volksraad has put a very heavy tax on 
all imported goods, hoping thereby to beguile the Boers 
Into paying taxes without knowing it, and at the same 
time strike a blow at the trading community, which 
is English in its proclivities. The result has been 
to paralyse what little trade there was left in the 
country, and to cause great dissatisfaction amongst 
the farmers, who cannot understand why, now that 
the English are gone, they should have to pay twice 
as much for their sugar and coffee as they have been 
accustomed to do. 

I will conclude this chapter with a few words about 
the natives who swarm in and around the Transvaal. 
They can be roughly divided into two great races, the 
Amazulu and their offshoots, and the Macatee or 
Basuto tribes. *A11 those of Zulu blood, including the 
Swazis, Mapock's Kafirs, the Matabele, the Knob- 
noses, and others are very warlike in disposition, and 
men of fine physique. The Basutos (who must not 
be confounded with the Cape Basutos), however, differ 
from these tribes in every respect, including their lan- 
guage, which is called Sisutu, the only mutual feeling 
between the two races being their common detestation 


of the Boers. They do not love war; in fact, they 
are timid and cowardly by nature, and only fight 
when they are obliged to. Unlike the Zulus, they 
are much addicted to the arts of peace, show consider- 
able capacities for civilisation, and are even willing to 
become Christians. There would have been a far 
better field for the Missionary in the Transvaal than 
in Zululand and Natal. Indeed, the most successful 
mission station I have seen in Africa is near Middle- 
burg, under the control of Mr. Merensky. In person 
the Basutos are thin and weakly when compared to 
the stalwart Zulu, and it is their consciousness of 
inferiority both to the white men and their black 
brethren that, together with their natural timidity, 
makes them submit as easily as they do to the yokt 
of the Boer. 



In or about the year 1872, the burghers of the Republic 
elected Mr. Burgers their President. This remarkable 
man was a native of the Cape Colony, and passed the 
first sixteen or seventeen years of his life, he once in- 
formed me, on a farm herding sheep. He afterwards 
became a clergyman noted for the eloquence of his 
preaching, but his ideas proving too broad for his con- 
gregation, he resigned his cure, and in an evil moment 
for himself took to politics. 

President Burgers was a man of striking presence 
and striking talents, especially as regards his oratory, 
which was really of a very high class, and would have 
commanded attention in our own House of Commons. 
He possessed, however, a mind of that peculiarly vola- 
tile order that is sometimes met with in conjunction 
with great talents, and which seems to be entirely with- 
out ballast. His intellect was of a balloon-like nature, 
and as incapable of being steered. He was always 
soaring in the clouds, and, as is natural to one in that 
elevated position, taking a very dififerent and more 
sanguine view of affairs to that which men of a more 
lowly, and perhaps a more practical, turn of mind 
would do. 


But notwithstanding his fly-away ideas, President 
Burgers was undoubtedly a true patriot, labouring night 
and day for the welfare of the State of which he had 
undertaken the guidance ; but his patriotism was too 
exalted for his surroundings. He wished to elevate to 
the rank of a nation a people who had not got the 
desire to be elevated ; with this view he contracted 
railway loans, made wars, minted gold, &c., and then 
suddenly discovered that the country refused to support 
him. In short, he was made of very different clay to 
that of the people he had to do with. He dreamt of a 
great Dutch Kepublic " with eight millions of inhabi- 
tants," doing a vast trade with the interior through the 
Delagoa Bay Eailway. They, on the other hand, cared 
nothing about republics or railways, but fixed their 
affections on forced labour and getting rid of the neces- 
sity of paying taxes — and so between them the Eepub- 
lic came to grief. But it must be borne in mind that 
President Burgers was throughout actuated by good 
motives ; he did his best by a stubborn and a stiff-necked 
people ; and if he failed, as fail he did, it was more their 
fault than his. As regards the pension he received from 
the English Government, which has so often been brought 
up against him, it was after all no more than his due 
after five years of arduous work. If the Republic had 
continued to exist, it is to be presumed that they would 
have made some provision for their old President, more 
especially as he seems to have exhausted his private 
means in paying the debts of the country. What- 
ever may be said of some of the other ofi&cials of the 
Republic, its President was, I believe, an honest man. 

In 1875, Mr. Burgers proceeded to Europe, having, 
be says in a posthumous document recently published 


been empowered by the Volksraad " to carry out my 
plans for the development of the country, by opening 
up a direct communication for it, free from the tram- 
mels of British ports and influence." According to this 
document, during his absence two powerful parties, viz., 
**the faction of unprincipled fortune-hunters, rascals, 
and runaways on the one hand, and the faction of the 
extreme orthodox party in a certain branch of the 
Dutch Keform Church on the other, began to co-operate 
against the Government of the Republic and me per- 
sonally Ill as I was, and contrary to the advice 

of my medical men, I proceeded to Europe, in the be- 
ginning of 1875, to carry out my project, and no sooner 
was my back turned on the Transvaal than the con- 
spiring elements began to act. The new coat of arms 
and flag adopted in the Raad by an almost unanimous 
vote were abolished; the laws for a free and secular 
education were tampered with ; and my resistance to a 
reckless inspection and disposal of Government lands, 
still occupied by natives, was openly defied. The 
Raad, filled up to a large extent with men of ill repute, 
who, under the cloak of progress and favour to the 
Government view, obtained their seats, was too weak to 
cope with the skill of the conspirators, and granted 
leave to the acting President to carry out measures 
diametrically opposed to my policy. Native lands were 
inspected and given out to a few speculators, who held 
large numbers of claims to lands which were destined 
for citizens, and so a war was prepared for me, on my 
return from Europe, which I could not avert/' This 
extract is interesting, as showing the state of feeling 
existing between the President and his officers previous 
to the outbreak of the Secocceni war. It also shows 


how entirely he was out of sympathy with the citizens, 
seeing that, as soon as his back was turned, they, with 
Mr. Joubert and Paul Kruger at their head, at once 
undid all the little good he had done. 

When Mr. Burgers got to England, he found that city 
capitalists would have nothing whatever to say to hif 
railway scheme. In Holland, however, he succeeded 
in getting ^90,000 of the ;^ 300,000 he wished to borrow 
at a high rate of interest, and by passing a bond or 
five hundred Government farms. This money was 
immediately invested in railway plant, which, when it 
arrived at Delagoa Bay, had to be mortgaged to pa} 
the freight on it, and that was the end of the Delagoa 
Bay railway scheme, except that the ;£" 90,000 is, 1 
believe, still owing to the confiding shareholders ip 

On his return to the Transvaal the President was 
well received, and for a month or so all went smoothly. 
But the relations of the Eepublic with the surrounding 
native tribes had by this time become so bad that an 
explosion was imminent somewhere. In the year 1874 
the Volksraad raised the price of passes under the 
iniquitous pass law, by which every native travelling 
through the territory was made to pay from £1 to ;6"5. 
In case of non-payment the native was made subject to 
a fine of from £1 to ;f 10, and to a beating of from '' ten 
to twenty-five lashes." He was also to go into service 
for three months, and have a certificate thereof, for 
which he must pay five shillings ; the avowed object of 
the law being to obtain a supply of Kafir labour. This 
was done in spite of the earnest protest of the President, 
who gave the Eaad distinctly to understand that by 
accepting this law they would, in point of fact, annul 


treaties concluded with the chiefs on the south-western 
borders. It is not clear, however, if this amended pass 
law ever came into force. It is to be hoped it did not, 
for even under the old law natives were shamefully 
treated by. Boers, who would pretend that they were 
authorised by Government to collect the tax; the 
result being that the unfortunate Kafir was frequently 
obliged to pay twice over. Natives had such a horror 
of the pass laws of the country, that when travelling 
to the Diamond Fields to work they would frequently 
go round some hundreds of miles rather than pass 
through the Transvaal. 

That the Volksraad should have thought it necessary 
to enact such a law in order that the farmers should 
obtain a supply of Kafir labour in a territory that had 
nearly a million of native inhabitants, who, unlike 
the Zulus, are willing to work if only they meet with 
decent treatment, is in itself an instructive commentary 
on the feelings existing between Boer master and Kafir 

But besides the general quarrel with the Kafir race 
in its entirety, which the Boers always have on hand, 
they had just then several individual differences, in each 
of which there lurked the possibilities of disturbance. 

To begin with, their relations with Cetywayo were 
by no mea'hs amicable. During Mr. Burgers' absence 
the Boer Government, then under the leadership of 
P. J. Joubert, sent Cetywayo a very stern message — a 
message that gives the reader the idea that Mr. Joubert 
was ready to enforce it with ten thousand men. After 
making various statements and demands with reference 
to the Amaswazi tribe, the disputed boundary line, <fec« 
it ends thus : — 


"Although the Government of the South African 
Republic has never wished, and does not now desire, 
that serious disaffection and animosities should exist 
between you and them, yet it is not the less of the 
greatest consequence and importance for you earnestly 
to weigh these matters and risks, and to satisfy them ; 
the more so, if you on your side also wish that peace 
and friendship shall be maintained between you 
and us." 

The Secretary for Native Affairs for Natal comments 
on this message in these words : " The tone of this 
message to Cetywayo is not very friendly, it has the 
look of an ultimatum, and if the Government of the 
Transvaal were in circumstances different to what it is, 
the message would suggest an intention to coerce if the 
demands it conveys are not at once complied with ; but 
I am inclined to the opinion that no such intention 
exists, and that the transmission of a copy of the mes- 
sage to the Natal Government is intended as a notifica- 
tion that the Transvaal Government has proclaimed the 
territory hitherto in dispute between it and the Zulus 
to be Republican territory, and that the Republic intends 
to occupy it." 

In the territories marked out by a decision known 
as the Keate Award, in which Lieutenant-Governor 
Keate of Natal, at the request of both parties, laid down 
the boundary line between the Boers and certain native 
tribes, the Boer Government carried it with a yet higher 
hand, insomuch as the natives of those districts, being 
comparatively unwarlike, were less likely to resist. 

On the 1 8th August 1875, Acting President Joubert 
issued a proclamation by which a line was laid down 
fax to the southward of that marked out by Mr. Keate, 


and consequently included more territory within the 
elastic boundaries of the Kepublic. A Government 
notice of the same date invites all claiming lands now 
declared to belong to the Republic to send in their 
claims to be settled by a land commission. 

On the 6th March 1876, another chief in the same 
neighbourhood (Montsoia) writes to the Lieutenant- 
Governor of Griqualand West in these terms : — 

" My Friend, — I wish to acquaint you with the 
doings of some people connected with the Boers. A 
man-servant of mine has been severely injured in the 
head by one of the Boers' servants, which has proved 
fatal. Another of my people has been cruelly treated 
by a Boer tying a rein about his neck, and then 
mounting his horse and dragging him about the place. 
My brother Molema, who is the bearer of this, will 
give you full particulars." 

Molema explains the assaults thus : " The assaulted 
man is not dead ; his skull was fractured. The assault 
was committed by a Boer named Wessels Badenhorst, 
who shamefully ill-treated the man, beat him till he 
fainted, and, on his revival, fastened a rim round his 
neck, and made him run to the homestead by the side 
of his (Badenhorst's) horse cantering. At the home- 
stead he tied him to the waggon -wheel, and flogged 
him again till Mrs. Badenhorst stopped her husband." 

Though it will be seen that the Boers were on good 
terms neither with the Zulus nor the Keate Award 
natives, they still had one Kafir ally, namely, Um- 
bandeni, the Amaswazi king. This alliance was con- 
cluded under circumstances so peculiar that they are 
worthy of a brief recapitulation. It appears that in 
the winter of the year 1875, Mr. Rudolph, the Land- 


drost of Utrecht, went to Swaziland, and, imitating 
the example of the Natal Government with Cety- 
wayo, crowned Umbandeni king, on behalf of the 
Boer Government He further made a treaty of 
alliance with him, and promised him a commando to 
help him in case of his being attacked by the Zulus. 
Now comes the curious part of the story. On the 
1 8th May 1876, a message came from this same 
Umbandeni to Sir H. Bulwer, of which the following 
is an extract: — "We are sent by our king to thank 
the Government of Natal for the information sent to 
him last winter by that Government, and conveyed 
by Mr. Eudolph, of the intended attack on his people 
by the Zulus. We are further instructed by the king 
to thank the Natal Government for the influence it 
used to stop the intended raid, and for instructing a 
Boer commando to go to his country to render him 
assistance in case of need ; and further for appointing 
Mr. Eudolph at the head of the commando to place 
him (Umbandeni) as king over the Amaswazi, and 
to make a treaty with him and his people on be- 
half of the Natal Government. . . . The Transvaal 
Government has asked Umbandeni to acknowledge 
himself a subject of the Kepublic, but he has dis- 
tinctly refused to do so." In a minute written on 
this subject, the Secretary for Native Affairs for Natal 
says, "No explanation or assurance from me was 
sufficient to convince them (Umbandeni's messengers) 
that they had on that occasion made themselves sub- 
jects of the South African Kepublic; they declared it 
was not their wish or intention to do so, and that 
they would refuse to acknowledge a position into 
which they had been unwittingly betrayed." I must 


conclude this episode by quoting the last paragraph 
of Sir H. Bulwer's covering despatch, because it con- 
cerns larger issues than the supposed treaty ; " It will 
not be necessary that I should at present add any 
remarks to those contained in the minute of the 
Secretary for Native Affairs, but I would observe 
that the situation arising out of the relations of the 
Government of the South African Eepublic with the 
neighbouring native States is so complicated, and pre- 
sents so many elements of confusion and of danger 
to the peace of this portion of South Africa, that I 
trust some way may be found to an early settlement 
of questions that ought not, in my opinion, to be left 
alone, as so many have been left, to take the chance 
of the future." 

And now I come to the last and most imminent 
native difficulty that at the time faced the Eepublic. 
On the borders of Lydenburg district there lived a 
powerful chief named Secocoeni Between this chief 
and the Transvaal Government difficulties arose in the 
beginning of 1876 on the usual subject — land. The 
Boers declared that they had bought the land from the 
Swazis, who had conquered portions of the country, 
and that the Swazis offered to make it "clean from 
brambles," t.«., kill everybody living on it; but that 
they (the Boers) said that they were to let them be, 
that they mjght be their servants. The Basutos, on 
the other hand, said that no such sale ever took place, 
and, even if it did take place, it was invalid, because 
the Swazis were not in occupation of the land, and 
therefore could not sell it. It was a Christian Kafir 
called Johannes, a brother of Secocoeni, who was the 
immediate cause of the war. This Johannes used to 


live at a place called Botsobelo, the mission-station of 
Mr. Merensky, but moved to a stronghold on the Spek- 
boom river, in the disputed territory. The Boers sent 
to him to come back, but he refused, and warned the 
Boers off his land. Secocceni was then appealed to, 
but declared that the land belonged to his tribe, and 
would be occupied by Johannes. He also told the 
Boers " that he did not wish to fight, but that he was 
quite ready to do so if they preferred it." Thereupon 
the Transvaal Government declared war, although it 
does not appear that the natives committed any out- 
rage or acts of hostility before the declaration. As 
regards the Boers* right to Secocoeni*s country. Sir 
H. Barkly sums up the question thus, in a despatch 
addressed to President Burgers, dated 28th Nov. 1876: 
— ** On the whole, it seems perfectly clear, and I feel 
bound to repeat it, that Sikukuni was neither de jure 
or de facto a subject of the Eepublic when your Honour 
declared war against him in June last." As soon as 
war had been declared, the clumsy commando system 
was set working, and about 2500 white men collected; 
the Swazis also were applied to to send a contingent, 
which they did, being only too glad of the opportunity 
of slaughter. 

At first all went well, and the President, who accom- 
panied the commando in person, succeeded in reducing 
& mountain stronghold, which, in his high-flown way, 
he called a " glorious victory " over a " Kafir Gibraltar." 

On the 14th July another engagement took place, 
when the Boers and Swazis attacked Johannes' strong- 
hold. The place was taken with circumstances of 
great barbarity by the Swazis, for when the signal 
was given to advance the Boers did not move. Nearly 


all the women were killed, and the brains of the chil- 
dren were dashed out against the stones ; in one instance, 
before the captive mother's face. Johannes was badly 
wounded, and died two days afterwards. When he was 
dying, he said to his brother, " I am going to die. I am 
thankful I do not die by the hands of these cowardly 
Boers, but by the hand of a black and courageous 
nation like myself . . ." He then took leave of his 
people, told his brother to read the Bible, and expired. 
The Swazis were so infuriated at the cowardice dis- 
played by the Boers on this occasion that they returned 
home in great dudgeon. 

On the 2d of August Secocceni's mountain, which is 
a very strong fortification, was attacked in two columns, 
or rather an attempt was made to attack it, for when 
it came to the pinch only about forty men, mostly 
English and Germans, would advance. Thereupon the 
whole commando retreated with great haste, the greater 
part of it going straight home. In vain the President 
entreated them to shoot him rather than desert him; 
they had had enough of Secocceni and his stronghold, 
and home they went. The President then retreated 
with what few men he had left to Steelport, where he 
built a fort, and from thence returned to Pretoria. The 
news of the collapse of the commando was received 
throughout the .Transvaal, and indeed the whole of 
South Africa, with the greatest dismay. Por the first 
time in the history of that country the white man had 
been completely worsted by a native tribe, and that 
tribe wretched Basutos, people whom the Zulus call 
their " dogs." It was glad tidings to every native from 
the Zambesi to the Cape, who learnt thereby that the 
wuite man was not so invincible as he used to be. 


Meanwhile the inhabitants of Lydenburg were filled 
with alarm, and again and again petitioned the 
Governors of the Cape and Natal for assistance. Their 
fears were, however, to a great extent groundless, for, 
with the exception of occasional cattle-lifting, Secocoeni 
did not follow up his victory. 

On the 4th September the President opened the 
special sitting of the Volksraad, and presented to that 
body a scheme for the establishment of a border force 
to take the place of the commando system, announcing 
that he had appointed a certain Captain Von Schlick- 
mann to command it. He also requested the Eaad to 
make some provision for the expenses of the expedition, 
which they had omitted to do in their former sitting. 

Captain Von Schlickmann determined to carry on 
ihe war upon a different system. He got together a 
band of very rough characters on the Diamond Fields, 
and occupied the fort built by the* President, from 
whence he would sally out from time to time and 
destroy kraals. He seems, if we may believe the re- 
ports in the blue-books and the stories of eye-witnesses, 
to have carried on his proceedings in a somewhat savage 
way. The following is an extract from a private letter 
written by one of his volunteers : — 

" About daylight we came across four Kafirs. Saw 
them first, and charged in front of them to cut off their 
retreat. Saw they were women, and called out not to 
fire. In spite of that, one of the poor things got her 

head blown off (a d d shame). . . . Afterwards two 

women and a baby were brought to the camp prisoners. 
The same night they were taken out by our Kafirs and 

murdered in cool blood by order of . Mr. 

and myself strongly protested against it, but without 


avail I never heard such a cowardly piece of business 
in my life. No good will come of it, you may depend. 
. . . says he would cut all the women and chil- 
dren's throats he catches. Told him distinctly he was 
a d d coward." 

Schlickmann was, however, a mild-mannered man 
when compared to a certain Abel Erasmus, afterwards 
denounced at a public dinner by Sir Garnet Wolseley as a 
fiend " in human form." This gentleman, in the month 
of October, attacked a friendly kraal of Kafirs. The 
incident is described thus in a correspondent's letter : — 

" The people of the kraals, taken quite by surprise, 
fied when they saw their foes, and most of them took 
ihelter in the neighbouring bush. Two or three men 
were distinctly seen in their flight from the kraal, and 
one of them is known to have been wounded. Accord- 
ing to my informant the remainder were women and 
children, who were pursued into the bush, and there, 
all shivering and shrieking, were put to death by the 
Boers' Kafirs, some being shot, but the majority stabbed 
with assegais. After the massacre he counted thirteen 
women and three children, but he says he did not see 
the body of a single man. Another Kafir said, pointing 
to a place in the road where the stones were thickly 
strewn, ' the bodies of the women and children lay like 
these stones.'. The Boer before mentioned, who has 
been stationed outside, has told one of his own friends, 
whom he thought would not mention it, that the shrieks 
were fearful to hear." 

Several accounts of, or allusion to, this atrocity can 
be found in the blue-books, and I may add that it, in 
common with others of the same stamp, was the talk 
of the country at the time. 


I do not relate these horrors out of any wish to rake 
up old stories to the prejudice of the Boers, but because 
I am describing the state of the country before the 
Annexation, in which they form an interesting and 
important item. Also, it is as well that people in 
England should know into what hands they have 
delivered over the native tribes who trusted in their 
protection. What happened in 1876 is probably hap- 
pening again now, and will certainly happen again and 
again. The character of the Transvaal Boer and his 
sentiments towards the native races have not modified 
during the last five years, but, on the contrary, a large 
amount of energy, which has been accumulating during 
the period of British protection, will now be expended 
on their devoted heads. 

As regards the truth of these atrocities, the majority 
of them are beyond the possibility of doubt ; indeed, to 
the best of my knowledge, no serious attempt has ever 
been made to refute such of them as have come into 
public notice, except in a general way, for party pur- 
poses. As, however, they may be doubted, I will quote 
the following extract from a despatch written by Sir 
H. Barkly to Lord Carnarvon, dated i8th December 

"As Von Schlickmann has since fallen fighting 
bravely, it is not without reluctance that I join in 
affixing this dark stain on his memory, but truth 
compels me to add the following extract from a letter 
which I have since received from one whose name 
(which I communicate to your Lordship privately) 
forbids disbelief : * There is no longer the slightest doubt 
as to the murder of the two women and the child at 
Steelport by the direct order of Schlickmann. and in 


the attack on the kraal near which these women were 
captured (or some attack about that period) he ordered 
his men to cut the throats of all the wounded ! This 
is no mere report ; it is positively true/ " He concludes 
by expressing a hope that the course of events will 
enable Her Majesty's Government to take such steps 
" as will terminate this wanton and useless bloodshed, 
and prevent the recurrence of the scenes of injustice^ 
cruelty, and rapine which abundant evidence is every day 
forthcoming to prove have rarely ceased to disgrace tJie 
Republics beyond the Vaal ever since they first spran^g 
into existence" ^ 

These are strong words, but none too strong for the 
facts of the case. Injustice, cruelty, and rapine have 
always been the watchwords of the Transvaal Boers. 
The stories of wholesale slaughter in the earlier days 
of the Kepublic are very numerous. One of the best 
known of those shocking occurrences took place in the 
Zoutpansberg war in 1865. On this occasion a large 
number of Kafirs took refuge in caves, where the Boers 
smoked them to death. Some years afterwards Dr. 
Wangeman, whose account is, I believe, thoroughly 
reliable, describes the scene of their operations in these 
words :— 

" The roof of the first cave was black with smoke ; 
the remains of the logs which were burnt lay at the 
entrance. The floor was stiewn with hundreds of skulls 
and skeletons. In confused heaps lay karosses, kerries, 
assegais, pots, spoons, snuff-boxes, and the bones of 
men, giving one the impression that this was the grave 
of a whole people. Some estimate the number of those 
who perished here from twenty to thirty thousand. This 

* The italics are my own. — AcTHOB. 


is, I believe, too high. In the one chamber there were 
from two hundred to three hundred skeletons ; the 
other chambers I did not visit." 

In 1 868 a public meeting was held at Potchef stroom 
to consider the war then going on with the Zoutpans- 
berg natives. According to the report of the proceed- 
ings, the Eev. Mr. Ludorf said that "on a particular 
occasion a number of native children, who were too 
young to be removed, had been collected in a heap, 
covered with long grass, and burned alive. Other 
atrocities had also been committed, but these were too 
horrible to relate." When called upon to produce his 
authority for this statement, Mr. Ludorf named his 
authority " in a solemn declaration to the State Attor- 
ney." At this same meeting Mr. J. G. Steyn, who had 
been Landdrost of Potchefstroom, said, " there now was 
innocent blood on our hands which had not yet been 
avenged, and the curse of God rested on the land in 
consequence." Mr. Rosalt remarked that "it was a 
singular circumstance that in the different colonial 
Kafir wars, as also in the Basuto wars, one did not hear 
of destitute children being found by the commandoes, 
and asked how it was that every petty commando that 
took the field in this Eepublic invariably found num- 
bers of destitute children. He gave it as his opinion 
that the present system of apprenticeship was an essen- 
tial cause of our frequent hostilities with the natives." 
Mr. Jan Talyard said, "Children were forcibly taken 
from their parents, and were then called destitute and 
apprenticed." Mr. Daniel Van Nooren was heard to 
say, " If they had to clear the country, and could not 
have the children they found, he would shoot them." 
Mr. Field-Coruet Furstenburg stated "that when he 


was at Zoutpansberg with his burghers, the chief Katse- 
Kats was told to come down from the mountains ; that 
he sent one of his subordinates as a proof of amity; 
that whilst a delay of five days was guaranteed by 
Commandant Paul Kruger, who was then in command, 
orders were given at the same time to attack the natives 
at break of day, which was accordingly done, but which 
resulted in total failure." Truly, this must have been 
an interesting meeting. 

Before leaving these unsavoury subjects, I must 
touch on the question of slavery. It has been again 
and again denied, on behalf of the Transvaal Boers, that 
slavery existed in the Eepublic. Now, this is, strictly 
speaking, true ; slavery did not exist, but apprentice- 
ship did — the rose was called by another name, that is 
alL The poor destitute children who were picked up 
by kind-hearted Boers, after the extermination of their 
parents, were apprenticed to farmers till they came of 
age. It is a remarkable fact that these children never 
attained their majority. You might meet oldish men 
in the Transvaal who were not, according to their 
masters* reckoning, twenty-one years of age. The asser- 
tion that slavery did not exist in the Transvaal is only 
made to hoodwink the English public. I have known 
men who have owned slaves, and who have seen whole 
waggon-loads of "black ivory," as they were called, 
sold for about ;^I5 a-piece. I have at this moment a 
tenant, Carolus by name, on some land I own in Natal, 
now a well-to-do man, who was for many years — about 
twenty, if I remember right — a Boer slave. During 
those years, he told me, he worked from morning till 
night, and the only reward he received was two calvea. 
He finally escaped into Natal, 


If other evidence is needed it is not difficult to find, 
so I will quote a little. On the 2 2d August 1876 we 
find Khama, king of the Bamangwato, one of the most 
worthy chiefs in South Africa, sending a message to 
" Victoria, the great Queen of the English people," in 
these words : — 

" I write to you, Sir Henry, in order that your Queen 
may preserve for me my country, it being in her hands. 
The Eoers are coming into it, and I do not like them. 
Their actions are cruel among us black people. We 
are like money, they sell us and our children. I ask 
Her Majesty to pity me, and to hear that which I write 
quickly. I wish to hear upon what conditions Her 
Majesty will receive me, and my country and my people, 
under her protection. I am weary with fighting. I do 
not like war, and I ask Her Majesty to give me peace. 
I am very much distressed that my people are being 
destroyed by war, and I wish them to obtain peace. I 
ask Her Majesty to defend me, as she defends all her 
people. There are three things which distress me very 
much — war, selling people, and drink. All these things 
I shall find in the Boers, and it is these things which 
destroy people to make an end of them in the country. 
The custom of the Boers has always been to cause people 
to he sold, and to-day they are still selling people. Last 
year I saw them pass with two waggons full of people 
whom they had bought at the river at Tanane " (Lake 

The Special Correspondent of the Cape Argus, a 
highly respectable journal, writes thus on the 28th 
November 1876: — ^''The Boer from whom this infor- 
mation was gleaned has furnished besides some facts 
which may not be uninteresting, as a commentary on 


the repeated denials by Mr. Burgers of the existence 
of slavery. During the last week slaves have been 
offered for sale on his farm. The captives have been 
taken from Secocceni's country by Mapoch's people, 
and are being exchanged at the rate of a child for a 
heifer. He also assures us that the whole of the High- 
veld is being replenished with Kafir children, whom 
the Boers have been lately purchasing from the Swazis 
at the rate of a horse for a child. I should like to see 
this man and his father as witnesses before an Imperial 
Commission. He let fall one or two incidents of the 
past which were brought to mind by the occurrences of 
the present. In 1864, he says, 'The Swazis accom- 
panied the Boers against Males. The Boers did nothing 
but stand by and witness the fearful massacre. The 
men and women were also murdered. One poor woman 
sat clutching her baby of eight days old. The Swazis 
stabbed her through the body, and when she found that 
she could not live, she wrung the baby's neck with her 
own hands to save it from future misery. On the return 
of that commando the children who became too weary 
to continue the journey were killed on the road. The 
survivors were sold as slaves to the farmers.* " 

The same gentleman writes in the issue of the 12th 
December as follows: — "The whole world may know 
it, for it is true, and investigation will only bring out 
the horrible details, that through the whole course of 
this Republic's existence it has acted in contravention 
of the Sand River Treaty; and slavery has occurred 
not only here and there in isolated cases, but as an 
unbroken practice, and has been one of the peculiar 
institutions of the country, mixed up with all its social 
and political life. It has been at the root of most of 


its wars. It has been carried on regularly even m 
times of peace. It has been characterised by all those 
circumstances which have so often roused the British 
nation to an indignant protest, and to repeated efforts 
to banish the slave trade from the world. The Boers 
have not only fallen on unsuspecting kraals simply 
for the purpose of obtaining the women and children 
and cattle, but they have carried on a traffic through 
natives who have kidnapped the children of their 
weaker neighbours, and sold them to the white man. 
Again, the Boers have sold and exchanged their victims 
among themselves. Waggon-loads of slaves have been 
conveyed from one end of the country to the other for 
sale, and that with the cognisance of, and for the direct 
advantage of, the highest officials of the land. The 
writer has himself seen in a town, situated in the south 
of the Eepublic, the children who had been brought 
down from a remote northern district. One fine morn- 
ing, in walking through the streets, he was struck with 
the number of little black strangers standing about 
certain houses, and wondered where they could have 
come from. He learnt a few hours later that they were 
part of loads which were disposed of on the outskirts 
of the town the day before. The circumstances con- 
nected with some of these kidnapping excursions are 
appalling, and the barbarities practised by cruel masters 
upon some of these defenceless creatures during the 
course of their servitude are scarcely less horrible than 
those reported from Turkey. It is no disgrace in this 
country for an official to ride a fine horse which was 
got for two Kafir children, to procure whom the father 
and mother were shot No reproach is inherited by 
the mistress who, day after day, tied up her female 


servant in an agonising posture, and had her beaten 
until there was no sound part in her body, securing 
her in the stocks during the intervals of torture. That 
man did not lose caste who tied up another woman and 
had her thrashed until she brought forth at the whip- 
ping-post. These are merely examples of thousands of 
cases which could be proved were an Imperial Commis- 
sion to sit, and could the wretched victims of a prolonged 
oppression recover sufficiently from the dread of their 
old tyrants to give a truthful report." 

To come to some evidence more recently adduced. 
On the 9tli May 1881, an affidavit was sworn to by the 
Eev. John Thorne, curate of St. John the Evangelist, 
Lydenburg, Transvaal, and presented to the Royal Com- 
mission appointed to settle Transvaal affairs, in which 
he states : — " That I was appointed to the charge of a 
congregation in Potchefstroom, about thirteen years 
ago, when the Republic was under the presidency of 
Mr. Pretorius.^ I remember noticing one morning 
as I walked through the streets, a number of young 
natives, whom I knew to be strangers. I inquired where 
they came from. I was told that they had just been 
brought from Zoutpansberg. This was the locality from 
which slaves were chiefly brought at that time, and 
were traded for under the name of * Black Ivory.' One 
of these natives belonged to Mr. Munich, the State 
Attorney. It was a matter of common remark at that 
time that the President of the Republic was himself 
one of the greatest dealers in slaves." In the fourth 
paragraph of the same affidavit Mr. Thorne says, " That 
the Rev. Doctor Nachtigal, of the Berlin Missionary 
Society, was the interpreter for Shatane's people in the 

^ One of the famous Triumvirate. 


private office of Mr. Eoth, and, at the close of the in- 
terview, told me what had occurred. On my expressing 
surprise, he went on to relate that he had information 
on native matters which would surprise me more. He 
then produced the copy of a register, kept in the Land- 
drost's office, of men, women, and children, to the num- 
ber of four hundred and eighty (480), who had been 
disposed of by one Boer to another for a consideration. 
In one case an ox was given in exchange, in another 
goats, in a third a blanket, and so forth. Many of these 
natives he (Mr. Nachtigal) knew personally. The copy 
was certified as true and correct by an official of the 
Eepublic, and I would mention his name now, only 
that I am persuaded that it would cost the man his 
life if his act became known to the Boers." 

On the i6th May 188 1, a native, named Frederick 
Molepo, was examined by the Eoyal Commission. The 
following are extracts from his examination : — 

" (Sir E. Wood.) Are you a Christian ? — ^Yes. 

" {Sir H. de Villiers.) How long were you a slave ?— 
Half a year. 

" How do you know that you were a slave ? Might 
you not have been an apprentice ? — No, I was not 

" How do you know? — They got me from my parents, 
and ill-treated me. 

" {Sir E. Wood) How many times did you get the 
stick ? — Every day. 

" [Sir H. de Villiers) What did the Boers do with 
you when they caught you ? — They sold me. 

" How much did they sell you for ? — One cow and a 
big pot." 

On the 28th May 1881, amongst the other documents 


landed in for the consideration of the Royal Commission, 
the statement of a headman, whose name it has been 

msidered advisable to omit in the blue-book for fear 
bhe Boers should take vengeance on him. He says, 
** I say, that if the English government dies I shall die 

)o ; I would rather die than be under the Boer Govern- 

lent. I am the man who helped to make bricks for 
^the church you see now standing in the square here 
(Pretoria), as a slave without payment. As a represen- 
tative of my people I am still obedient to the English 
Government, and willing to obey all commands from 
them, even to die for their cause in this country, rathei 
than submit to the Boers. 

"I was under Shambok, my chief, who fought the 
Boers formerly, but he left us, and we were put up to 
aud,ion and sold among the Boers. I want to state 
this myself to the Royal Commission in Newcastle. I 
was bought by Eritz Botha and sold by Frederick Botha, 
who was then veld cornet (justice of the peace) of the 

It would be easy to find more reports of the slave- 
trading practices of the Boers, but as the above are fair 
samples it will not be necessary to do so. My readers 
will be able from them to form some opinion as to 
whether or not slavery or apprenticeship existed in the 

^ I have taken the liberty to quote all these extracts exactly as they 
•tand in the original, instead of weaving their substance into my nar- 
rative, in order that I may not be accused, as so often happens to 
authors who write upon this subject, of having pre.sented a garbled 
version of the truth. The original of every extract is to be found in 
blue-books presented to Parliament. I have thought it best to confine 
myself to these, and avoid repeating stories of cruelties and slavery, 
however well authenticated, that have come to my knowledge privately 
inch atorien beint; always mor« or less open to suspiciou. 


Transvaal. If they come to the conclusion that it did, 
it must be borne in mind that what existed in the past 
will certainly exist again in the future. Natives are 
not now any fonder of working for Boers than they 
were a few years back, and Boers must get labour some- 
how. If, on the other hand, it did not exist, then the 
Boers are a grossly slandered people, and all writers on 
the subject, from Livingstone down, have combined to 
take away their character. 

Leaving native questions for the present, we must 
now return to the general affairs of the country. When 
President Burgers opened the special sitting of the 
Volksraad, on the 4th September, he appealed, it will 
be remembered, to that body for pecuniary aid to 
liquidate the expenses of the war. This apj^eal was 
responded to by the passing of a war tax, under which 
every owner of a farm was to pay ;f 10, the owner of 
half a farm £^^ and so on. The tax was not a very 
just one, since it fell with equal weight on the rich 
man who held twenty farms and the poor man who 
held but one. Its justice or injustice was, however, to 
a great extent immaterial, since the free and indepen- 
dent burghers, including some of the members of the 
Volksraad who had imposed it, promptly refused to pay 
it, or indeed, whilst they were about it, any other tax. 
As the Treasury was already empty, and creditors were 
pressing, this refusal was most ill-timed, and things 
began to look very black indeed. Meanwhile, in addi- 
tion to the ordinary expenditure, and the interest pay- 
able on debts, money had to be found to pay Von 
Schlickmann's volunteers. As there was no cash in 
the country, this was done by issuing Government 
promissory notes, known as * goodfors," or vulgarly as 



" good for nothings," and by promising them all booty, 
and to each man a farm of two thousand acres, lying 
east and north-east of the Loolu mountains^in other 
words, in Secocceni's territory, which did not belong to 
the Government to give away. The officials were the 
next to suffer, and for six months before the Annexation 
these unfortunate individuals lived as best they could, 
for they certainly got no salary, except in the case of a 
postmaster, who was told to help himself to his pay in 
stamps. The Government issued large numbers of bills, 
but the banks refused to discount them, and in some 
cases the neighbouring colonies had to advance money 
to the Transvaal post-cart contractors who were carry- 
ing the mails, as a matter of charity. The Government 
even mortgaged the great salt-pan near Pretoria for the 
paltry sum of ;f 400, whilst the leading officials of the 
Government were driven to pledging their own private 
credit in order to obtain the smallest article necessary 
to its continuance. In fact, to such a pass did things 
come that when the country was annexed a single 
threepenny bit (which had doubtless been overlooked) 
was found in the Treasury chest, together with acknow- 
ledgments of debts to the extent of nearly ;£'300,ooo. 

Nor was the refusal to pay taxes, which they were 
powerless to enforce, the only difficulty with which the 
Government had to contend. Want of money is as bad 
and painful a thing to a State as to an individual, but 
there are perhaps worse things than want of money, 
one of which is to be deserted by your own friends and 
household. This was the position of the Government 
of the Eepublic; no sooner was it involved in over- 
whelming difficulties than its own subjects commenced 
to bait It, more especially the English portion of ita 


subjects. They complained to the English authoritiea 
about the commandeering of members of their family 
or goods; they petitioned the British Government to 
interfere, and generally made themselves as unpleasant 
as possible to the local authorities. Such a course of 
action was perhaps natural, but it can hardly be said 
to be either quite logical or just. The Transvaal 
Government bad never asked them to come and live 
in the country, and if they did so, it was presumably 
at their own risk. On the other hand, it must be 
remembered that many of the agitators had accumu- 
lated property, to leave which would mean ruin; and 
they saw that, unless something was done, its value 
would be destroyed. 

Under the pressure of all these troubles the Boers 
themselves split up into factions, as they are always 
ready to do. The Dopper party declared that they 
had had enough progress, and proposed the extremely 
conservative Paul Kruger as President, Burgers' time 
having nearly expired. Paul Kruger accepted the 
candidature, although he had previously promised his 
support to Burgers, and distrust of each other was 
added to the other diJGficulties of the Executive, the 
Transvaal becoming a house very much divided against 
itself. Natives, Doppers, Progressionists, Officials, Eng- 
lish, were all pulling different ways, and each striving 
for his own advantage. Anything more hopeless than 
the position of the country on the ist January 1877 ^* 
is impossible to conceive. Enemies surrounded it ; on 
every border there was the prospect of a serious war. 
In the exchequer there was nothing but piles of over- 
due bills. The President was helpless, and mistrustful 
of his officers, and the officers were caballing against 


the President. All the ordinary functions of Govern- 
ment had ceased, and trade was paralysed. Now and 
then wild proposals were made to relieve the State of 
its burdens, some of which partook of the nature of 
repudiation, but these were the exception ; the majority 
of the inhabitants, who would neither fight nor pay 
taxes, sat still and awaited the catastrophe, utterly 
careless of all consequences. 



The state of affairs described in the previous chapter 
was one that filled the Secretary of State for the 
Colonies with alarm. During his tenure of office 
Lord Carnarvon evidently had the permanent welfare 
of South Africa much at heart, and he saw with 
apprehension that the troubles that were brewing in 
the Transvaal were of a nature likely to involve the 
Cape and Natal in a native war. Though there is a 
broad line of demarcation between Dutch and English, 
it is not so broad but that a victorious nation like the 
Zulus might cross it, and beginning by fighting the 
Boer, might end by fighting the white man irrespective 
of race. When the reader reflects how terrible would 
be the consequences of a combination of native tribes 
against the Whites, and how easily such a combination 
might at that time have been brought about in the 
first flush of native successes, he will understand the 
anxiety with which all thinking men watched the 
course of events in the Transvaal in 1876. 

At last they took such a serious turn that the Home 
Government saw that some action must be taken if 
the catastrophe was to be averted, and determined to 
despatch Srr Theophilus Shepstone as Special Comnjis- 



sioner to the Transvaal, with powers, should it be neces- 
sary, to annex the country to Her Majesty's dominions, 
** in order to secure the peace and safety of Our said 
colonies and of Our subjects elsewhere." 

The terms of his Commission were unusually large, 
leaving a great deal to his discretionary power. In 
choosing that officer for the execution of a most 
difficult and delicate mission, the Government, doubt- 
less, made a very wise selection. Sir Theophilus 
Shepstone is a man of remarkable tact and ability, 
combined with great openness and simplicity of mind, 
and one whose name will always have a leading place 
in South African history. During a long official life- 
time he has had to do with most of the native races 
in South Africa, and certainly knows them and their 
ways better than any living man ; whilst he is by 
them all regarded with a peculiar and affectionate 
reverence. He is far excellence their great white chief 
and " father," and a word from him, even now that he 
has retired from active life, still carries more weight 
than the formal remonstrances of any governor in 
South Africa. 

With the Boers he is almost equally well ac- 
quainted, having known many of them personally for 
years. He possesses, moreover, the rare power of 
winning the regard and affection, as well as the 
respect, of those about him in such a marked degree 
that those who have served him once would go far 
to serve him again. Sir T. Shepstone, however, has 
enemies like other people, and is commonly reported 
among them to be a disciple of Machiavelli, and to 
have his mind steeped in all the darker wiles of Kafir 
policy. The Annexation of the Transvaal is by them 


attributed to a successful and vigorous use of those arts 
that distinguished the diplomacy of two centuries ago. 
Falsehood and bribery are supposed to have been the 
great levers used to effect the change, together with 
threats of extinction at the hands of a savage and 
unfriendly nation. 

That the Annexation was a triumph of mind ove? 
matter is quite true, but whether or no that triumph 
was unworthily obtained, I will leave those who read 
this short chronicle of the events connected with it to 
judge. I saw it somewhat darkly remarked in a 
newspaper the other day that the history of the 
Annexation had evidently yet to be written; and I 
fear that the remark represents the feeling of most 
people about that event, implying as it did that it 
was carried out by means certainly mysteriously and 
presumably doubtful. I am afraid that those who 
think thus will be disappointed in what I have to 
say about the matter, since I know that the means 
employed to bring the Boers — 

" Fracti bello, fatisque repulsi " — 

under Her Majesty's authority were throughout afa 
fair and honest as the Annexation itself was, in 
my opinion, right and necessary. 

To return to Sir T. Shepstone. He undoubtedly 
had faults as a ruler, one of the most prominent of 
which was that his natural mildness of character 
would never allow him to act with severity even 
when severity was necessary. The very criminals 
condemned to death ran a good chance of reprieve 
when he had to sign their death-warrants. He has 
also that worst of faults (so-called), in one fitted by 


nature to become great — want of ambition, a failing 
that in such a man marks him the possessor of an 
even and a philosophic mind. It was no seeking of 
his own that raised him out of obscurity, and when 
his work was done to comparative obscurity he elected 
to return, though whether a man of his ability and 
experience in South African affairs should, at the 
present crisis, be allowed to remain there, is another 

On the 20th December 1876, Sir T. Shepstone 
wrote to President Burgers, informing him of his ap^ 
preaching visit to the Transvaal, to secure, if possible, 
the adjustment of existing troubles, and the adoption 
of such measures as might be best calculated to pre- 
vent their recurrence in the future. 

On his road to Pretoria, Sir Theophilus received a 
hearty welcome from the Boer as well as the English 
inhabitants of the country. One of these addresses to 
him says : " Be assured, high honourable Sir, that we 
burghers, now assembled together, entertain the most 
friendly feeling towards your Government, and that 
we shall agree with anything you may do in conjunc- 
tion with our Government for the progress of our 
State, the strengthening against our native enemies, 
and for the general welfare of all the inhabitants of 
the whole of South Africa. Welcome in Heidelberg, 
and welcome in the Transvaal." 

At Pretoria the reception of the Special Commis- 
sioner was positively enthusiastic ; the whole town 
came out to meet him, and the horses having been 
taken out of the carriage, he was dragged in triumph 
through the streets. In his reply to the address 
presented to him, Sir Theophilus shadowed iorth the 


objects of his mission in these words : '* Eecent events 
in this country have shown to all thinking men the 
absolute necessity for closer union and more oneness 
of purpose among the Christian Governments of the 
southern portion of this continent : the best interests 
of the native races, no less than the peace and pro- 
sperity of the white, imperatively demand it, and I 
rely upon you and upon your Government to co- 
operate with me in endeavouring to achieve the great 
and glorious end of inscribing on a general South 
African banner the appropriate motto — "Eendragt 
maakt magt" (Unity makes strength). 

A few days after his arrival a commission was 
appointed, consisting of Messrs. Henderson and Osborn, 
on behalf of the Special Commissioner, and Messrs. 
Kruger and Jorissen, on behalf of the Transvaal 
Government, to discuss the state of the country. 
This commission came to nothing, and was on both 
sides nothing more than a bit of by-play. 

The arrival of the mission was necessarily regarded 
with mixed feelings by the inhabitants of the Trans- 
vaal. By one party it was eagerly greeted, viz., the 
English section of the population, who devoutly hoped 
that it had come to annex the country. With the 
exception of the Hollander element, the officials also 
were glad of its arrival, and secretly hoped that the 
country would be taken over, when there would be 
more chance of their getting their arrear pay. The 
better educated Boers also were for the most part 
satisfied that there was no hope for the country unless 
England helped it in some way, though they did not 
like having to accept the help. But the more bigoted 
and narrow-minded among them were undoubtedly 


opposed to English interference, and under their leader, 
Paul Kruger, who was at the time running for the 
President's chair, did their best to be rid of it. They 
found ready allies in the Hollander clientelle, with 
which Mr. Burgers had surrounded himself, headed 
by the famous Dr. Jorissen, who was, like most of 
the rulers of this singular State, an ex-clergyman, 
but now an Attorney-general, not learned in the law. 
These men were for the most part entirely unfit for 
the positions they held, and feared that in the event 
of the country changing hands they might be ejected 
from them; and also, they did all Englishmen the 
favour to regard them with that peculiarly virulent 
and general hatred which is a part of the secret creed 
of many foreigners, more especially of such as are 
under our protection. As may easily be imagined, 
what between all these different parties and the pre- 
sence of the Special Commissioner, there were certainly 
plenty of intrigues going on in Pretoria during the first 
few months of 1877, and the political excitement was 
very great. Nobody knew how far Sir T. Shepstone 
was prepared to go, and everybody was afraid of 
putting out his hand further than he could pull it 
back, and trying to make himself comfortable on two 
stools at once. Members of the Volksraad and other 
prominent individuals in the country who had during 
the day been denouncing the Commissioner in no 
measured terms, and even proposing that he and his 
staff should be shot as a warning to the English 
Government, might be seen arriving at his house 
under cover of the shades of evening, to have a little 
talk with him, and express the earnest hope that it 
was his intention to annex the country as soon as 


possible. It is necessary to assist at a peaceable 
annexation to learn the depth of meanness human 
nature is capable of. 

In Pretoria, at any rate, the ladies were of great 
service to the cause of the mission, since they were 
nearly all in favour of a change of government, and, 
that being the case, they naturally soon brought their 
husbands, brothers, and lovers to look at things from 
the same point of view. It was a wise man who 
said that in any matter where it is necessary to obtain 
the goodwill of a population you should win over the 
women; that done, you need not trouble yourself 
about the men. 

Though the country was thus overflowing with 
political intrigues, nothing of the kind went on in the 
Commissioner's camp. It was not he who made the 
plots to catch the Transvaalers ; on the contrary, they 
made the plots to catch him. For several months all 
that he did was to sit still and let the rival passions 
work their way, fighting what the Zulus afterwards 
called the " fight of sit down." When anybody came 
to see him he was very glad to meet them, pointed 
out the desperate condition of the country, and asked 
them if they could suggest a remedy. And that was 
about all he did do, beyond informing himself very 
carefully as to all that was going on in the country, 
and the movements of the natives within and outside 
its borders. There was no money spent in bribery, 
as has been stated, though it is impossible to imagine 
a state of affairs in which it would have been more 
easy to bribe, or in which it could have been done 
with greater effect; unless indeed the promise that 
some pension should be paid to President Burgers can 



be called a bribe, which it was certainly never intended 
to be, but simply a guarantee that after having spent 
all his private means on behalf of the State he should 
not be left destitute. The statement that the Annexa- 
tion was effected under a threat that if the Government 
did not give its consent Sir T. Shepstone would let 
loose the Zulus on the country is also a wicked and 
malicious invention, but with this I shall deal more 
at length further on. 

It must not, however, be understood that the An- 
nexation was a foregone conclusion, or that Sir T, 
Shepstone came up to the Transvaal with the fixed 
intention of annexing the country without reference 
to its position, merely with a view of extending British 
influence, or, as has been absurdly stated, in order to 
benefit Natal. He had no fixed purpose, whether it 
were necessary or no, of exercising the full powers 
given to him by his commission ; on the contrary, he 
was all along most anxious to find some internal 
resources within the State by means of which Annexa- 
tion could be averted, and of this fact his various 
letters and despatches give full proof. Thus, in his 
letter to President Burgers, of the 9th April 1877, i^ 
which he announces his intention of annexing the 
country, he says: "I have more than once assured 
your Honour .that if I could think of any plan by 
which the independence of the State could be main- 
tained by its own internal resources I would most 
certainly not conceal that plan from you." It is also 
incidentally remarkably confirmed by a passage in 
Mr. Burgers* posthumous defence, in which he says : 
"Hence I met Shepstone alone in my house, and 
opened up the subject of his mission. With a candouj 


that astonished me, he avowed that his purpose was 
to annex the country, as he had sufficient grounds for 
it, unless I could so alter as to satisfy his Government. 
My plan of a new constitution, modelled after that of 
America, of a standing police force of two hundred 
mounted men, was then proposed. He promised to 
give me time to call the Volksraad together, and to 
ahandon his design if the Volksraad would adopt these 
measures, and the country be willing to submit to 
them, and to carry them out." Further on he says : 
" In justice to Shepstone I must say that I would not 
consider an officer of my Government to have acted 
faithfully if he had not done what Shepstone did." 

It has also been frequently alleged in England, and 
always seems to be taken as the groundwork of argu- 
ment in the matter of the Annexation, that the 
Special Commissioner represented that the majority 
of the inhabitants wished for the Annexation, and 
that it was sanctioned on that ground. This statement 
shows the great ignorance that exists in this country 
of South African affairs, an ignorance which in this 
case has been carefully fostered by Mr. Gladstone's 
Government for party purposes, they having found it 
necessary to assume, in order to make their position 
in the matter tenable, that Sir T. Shepstone and other 
officers had been guilty of misrepresentation. Un- 
fortunately, the Government and its supporters have 
been more intent upon making out their case than 
upon ascertaining the truth of their statements. If 
they had taken the trouble to refer to Sir T. Shep- 
Btone's despatches, they would have found that the 
ground on which the Transvaal was annexed was, not 
because the majority of the inhabitants wished for it 


but because the State was drifting into anarchy, was 
bankrupt, and was about to be destroyed by native 
tribes. They would further have found that Sir T. 
Shepstone never represented that the majority of 
the Boers were in favour of Annexation. What he 
did say was that most thinking men in the country 
saw no other way out of the difficulty ; but what pro- 
portion of the Boers can be called " thinking men ? ' 
He also said, in the fifteenth paragraph of his des- 
patch to Lord Carnarvon of 6th March 1877, that 
petitions signed by 2500 people, representing every 
class of the community, out of a total adult male 
population of 8000, had been presented to the Govern- 
ment of the Kepublic, setting forth its difficulties and 
dangers, and praying it " to treat with me for their 
amelioration or removal." He also stated, and with 
perfect truth, that many more would have signed had 
it not been for the terrorism that was exercised, and 
that all the towns and villages in the country desired 
the change, which was a patent fact. 

This is the foundation on which the charge of 
misrepresentation is built — a charge which has been 
manipulated so skilfully, and with such a charming 
disregard for the truth, that the British public has 
been duped into believing it. When it is examined 
into, it vanishes into thin air. 

But a darker charge has been brought against the 
Special Commissioner — a charge affecting his honour 
as a gentleman and his character as a Christian ; and, 
strange to say, has gained a considerable credence, 
especially amongst a certain party in England. I 
allude to the statement that he called up the Zulu 
army with the intention of sweeping the Transvaal 


if the Annexation was objected to. I may state, 
from my own personal knowledge, that the report is 
a complete falsehood, and that no such threat was 
ever made, either by Sir T. Shepstone or by anybody 
connected with him, and I will briefly prove what 
I say. 

When the mission first arrived at Pretoria, a 
message came from Cetywayo to the effect that he 
had heard that the Boers had fired at " Sompseu " 
(Sir T. Shepstone), and announcing his intention of 
attacking the Transvaal if " his father " was touched. 
About the middle of March alarming rumours began 
to spread as to the intended action of Cetywayo with 
reference to the Transvaal ; but as Sir T. Shepstone 
did not think that the king would be likely to make 
any hostile movement whilst he was in the country, 
he took no steps in the matter. Neither did the 
Transvaal Government ask his advice and assistance. 
Indeed, a remarkable trait in the Boers is their 
supreme self-conceit, which makes them believe that 
they are capable of subduing all the natives in Africa, 
and of thrashing the whole British army if necessary. 
Unfortunately, the recent course of events has tended 
to confirm them in their opinion as regards their 
white enemies. To return : towards the second week 
in April, or the week before the proclamation of 
Annexation was issued, things began to look very 
serious ; indeed, rumours that could hardly be dis- 
credited reached the Special Commissioner that the 
whole Zulu army was collected in a chain of Impis 
or battalions, with the intention of bursting into the 
Transvaal and sweeping the country. Knowing how 
terrible would be the catastrophe if this were to 


happen, Sir T. Shepstone was much alarmed about 
the matter, and at a meeting with the Executive 
Council of the Transvaal Government he pointed out 
to them the great danger in which the country was 
placed. This was done in the presence of several 
officers of his staff, and it was on this friendly exposi- 
tion of the state of affairs that the charge that he had 
threatened the country with invasion by the Zulus 
was based. On the nth April, or the day before the 
Annexation, a message was despatched to Cetywayo, 
telling him of the reports that had reached Pretoria, 
and stating that if they were true he must forthwith 
give up all such intentions, as the Transvaal would at 
once be placed under the sovereignty of Her Majesty, 
and that if he had assembled any armies for purposes 
of aggression they must be disbanded at once. Sir T. 
Shepstone's message reached Zululand not a day too 
soon. Had the Annexation of the Transvaal been 
delayed by a few weeks even — and this is a point 
which I earnestly beg Englishmen to remember in con- 
nection with that act — Cetywayo*s armies would have 
entered the Transvaal, carrying death before them, and 
leaving a wilderness behind them. 

Cetywayo's answer to the Special Commissioner's 
message will sufficiently show, to use Sir Theophilus' 
own words in his despatch on the subject, "the pin- 
nacle of peril which the Republic and South Africa 
generally had reached at the moment when the 
Annexation took place." He says, " I thank my 
Father Sompseu (Sir T. Shepstone) for his message. 
I am glad that he has sent it, because the Dutch have 
tired me out, and I intended to fight them once and 
once only, and to drive them ov'er the Vaal. Kabana 


(name of messenger), you see my Impis (armies) are 
gathered. It was to fight the Dutch I called them 
together; now I will send them back to their homes. 
Is it well that two men (* amadoda-amabili *) should 
be made * iziula ' (fools) ? In the reign of my father 
Umpanda the Boers were constantly moving their 
boundary further into my country. Since his death 
the same thing has been done. I had therefore deter- 
mined to end it once for all ! *' The message then 
goes on to other matters, and ends with a request to 
be allowed to fight the .Amaswazi, because " they 
fight together and kill one another. This," says Cety- 
wayo naively, " is wrong, and I want to chastise them 
for it." 

This quotation will suffice to convince all reason- 
able men, putting aside all other matters, from what 
imminent danger the Transvaal was delivered by the 
much-abused Annexation. 

Some months after that event, however, it occurred 
to the ingenious mind of some malicious individual in 
Natal that, properly used, much political capital might 
be made out of this Zulu incident, and the story that 
Cety wayo's army had been called up by Sir Theophilus 
himself to overawe, and, if necessary, subdue the 
Transvaal, was accordingly invented and industriously 
circulated. Although Sir T. Shepstone at once caused 
it to be authoritatively contradicted, such an astonish- 
ing slander naturally took firm root, and on the 1 2 th 
April 1879 we have Mr. M. W. Pretorius, one of the 
Boer leaders, publicly stating at a meeting of the 
farmers that " previous to the Ajinexation Sir T. 
Shepstone had threatened the Transvaal with an attack 
from the Zulus as an argument for advancing the 


Annexation." Under such an imputation the Govern- 
ment could no longer keep silence, and accordingly 
Sir Owen Lanyon, who was then Administrator of the 
Transvaal, caused the matter to be ofi&cially investi- 
gated, with these results, which are summed up by 
him in a letter to Mr. Pretorius, dated ist May 

1. The records of the Eepublican Executive Council 
contained no allusion to any such statement. 

2. Two members of that Council filed statements in 
which they unreservedly denied that Sir T. Shepstone 
used the words or threats imputed to him. 

3. Two officers of Sir T. Shepstone's staff, who were 
always present with him at interviews with the Exe- 
cutive Council, filed statements to the same effect. 

" I have no doubt," adds Sir Owen Lanyon, " that 
the report has been originated and circulated by some 
evil-disposed person." 

In addition to this evidence we have a letter written 
to the Colonial Office by Sir T. Shepstone, dated Lon- 
don, August 12, 1879, in which he points out that 
Mr. Pretorius was not even present at any of the 
interviews with the Executive Council on which occa- 
sion he accuses him of having made use of the threats. 
He further shows that the use of such a threat on his 
part would hav§ been the depth of folly, and " know- 
ingly to court the instant and ignominious failure of 
my mission," because the Boers were so persuaded of 
their own prowess that they could not be convinced 
that they stood in any danger from native sources, and 
also because " such play with such keen-edged tools 
as the excited passions of savages are, and especially 
such savages as I kuew the Zulus to be, is not what 


an experience of forty-two years in managing them 
inclined me to." And yet, in the face of all this accu- 
mulated evidence, this report continues to be believed, 
that is, by those who wished to believe it. 

Such are the accusations that have been brought 
against the manner of the Annexation and the officer 
who carried it out, and never were accusations more 
groundless. Indeed, both for party purposes, and from 
personal animus, every means, fair or foul, has been 
used to discredit it and all connected with it. To take 
a single instance, one author (Miss Colenso, p. 134, 
" History of the Zulu War ") actually goes the length 
of putting a portion of a speech made by President 
Burgers into the mouth* of Sir T. Shepstone, and then 
abusing him for his incredible profanity. Surely this 
exceeds the limits of fair criticism. 

Before I go on to the actual history of the Annexa- 
tion there is one point I wish to submit to my reader. 
In England the change of Government has always 
been talked of as though it only affected the forty 
thousand white inhabitants of the country, whilst 
everybody seems to forget that this same land had 
about a million human beings living on it, its original 
owners, and only, unfortunately for themselves, pos- 
sessing a black skin, and therefore entitled to little 
consideration, — even at the hands of the most philan- 
thropic Government in the world. It never seems to 
have occurred to those who have raised so much out- 
cry on behalf of the forty thousand Boers, to inquire 
what was thought of the matter by the million natives. 
If they were to be allowed a voice in their own dis- 
posal, the country was certainly annexed by the wish 
of a very large majority of the inhabitants. It is true 


that Secocceni, instigated thereto by the Boers, after- 
wards continued the war against us, but, with the 
exception of this one chief, the advent of our rule was 
hailed with joy by every native in the Transvaal, and 
even he was glad of it at the time. During our period 
of rule in the Transvaal the natives have had, as they 
foresaw, more peace than at any time since the white 
man set foot in the land. They have paid their taxes 
gladly, and there has been no fighting among them- 
selves ; but since we have given up the country we 
hear a very different tale. It is this million of men, 
women, and children who, notwithstanding their black 
skins, live and feel, and have intelligence as much as 
ourselves, who are the principal, because the most 
numerous sufferers from Mr. Gladstone's conjuring 
tricks, that can turn a Sovereign into a Suzerain as 
airily as the professor of magic brings a litter of 
guinea-pigs out of a top hat. It is our falsehood and 
treachery to them whom we took over " for ever," as 
we told them, and whom we have now handed back 
to their natural enemies to be paid off for their loyalty 
to the Englishman, that is the blackest stain in all 
this black business, and that has destroyed our prestige, 
and caused us to be looked on amongst them, for they 
do not hide their opinion, as " cowards and liars." 

But very little attention, however, seems to have 
been paid to native views or claims at any time in 
the Transvaal ; indeed they have all along been treated 
as serfs of the soil, to be sold with it, if necessary, to 
a new master. It is true that the Government, acting 
under pressure from the Aborigines Protection Society, 
made, on the occasion of the Surrender, a feeble effort 
to secure the independence of some of the native 


tribes; but when the Boer leaders told them shortly 
that they would have nothing of the sort, and that, 
if they were not careful, they would reoccupy Laing's 
Nek, the proposal was at once dropped, with many 
assurances that no offence was intended. The worst 
of the matter is that this treatment of our native 
subjects and allies will assuredly recoil on the heads 
of future innocent Governments. 

Shortly after the appointment of the Joint-Com- 
mission alluded to at the beginning of this chapter.. 
President Burgers, who was now in possession of the 
Special Commissioner's intentions, should he be unable 
to carry out reforms sufficiently drastic to satisfy the 
English Government, thought it best to call together 
the Volksraad. In the meantime, it had been an- 
nounced that the "rebel" Secocceni had sued for 
peace and signed a treaty declaring himself a subject 
of the Republic. I shall have to enter into the 
question of this treaty a little further on, so I will at 
present only say that it was the first business laid before 
the Eaad, and, after some discussion, ratified. Next 
in order to the Secocceni peace came the question of 
Confederation, as laid down in Lord Carnarvon's Per- 
missive Bill. This proposal was laid before them in 
an earnest and eloquent speech by their President, 
who entreated them to consider the dangerous position 
of the Eepublic, and to face their difficulties like men. 
The question was referred to a committee, and an 
adverse report being brought up, was rejected without 
further consideration. It is just possible that intimi- 
dation had something to do with the summary treat- 
ment of so important a matter, seeing that whilst it 
was being argued a large mob of Boers, looking very 


formidable with their sea-cow hide whips, watched every 
move of their representatives through the windows of 
the Volksraad Hall. It was Mr. Chamberlain's caucus 
system in practical and visible operation. 

A few days after the rejection of the Confederation 
Bill, President Burgers, who had frequently alluded 
to the desperate condition of the Eepublic, and stated 
that either some radical reform must be effected or 
the country must come under the British flag, laid 
before the Kaad a bran new constitution of a very 
remarkable nature, asserting that they must either 
accept it or lose their independence. 

The first part of this strange document dealt with 
the people and their rights, which remained much as 
they were before, with the exception that the secrecy 
of all letters entrusted to the post was to be inviolable. 
The recognition of this right is an amusing incident 
in the history of a free Eepublic. Under following 
articles the Volksraad was entrusted with the charge 
of the native inhabitants of the State, the provision 
for the administration of justice, the conduct of 
education, the regulation of money-bills, &c. It is 
in the fourth chapter, however, that we come to the 
real gist of the Bill, which was the endowment of the 
State President with the authority of a dictator. Mr, 
Burgers thought to save the State by making himself 
an absolute monarch. He was to be elected for a 
period of seven instead of five years, and to be eligible 
for re-election. In him was vested the power of 
making all appointments without reference to the 
Legislature. All laws were to be drawn up by him, 
and he was to have the right of veto on Volksraad 
resolutions, which body he could summon and dissolve 


at will. Finally, his Executive Council was to consist 
of heads of departments appointed by himself, and of 
one member of the Volksraad. The Volksraad treated 
this Bill in much the same way as they had dealt 
with the Permissive Confederation Bill, gave it a casual 
consideration, and threw it out. 

The President, meanwhile, was doing his best to 
convince the Eaad of the danger of the country ; that 
the treasury was empty, whilst duns were pressing, 
that enemies were threatening on every side, and, finally, 
that Her Majesty's Special Commissioner was encamped 
within a thousand yards of them, watching their 
deliberations with some interest. He showed them 
that it was impossible at once to scorn reform and 
reject friendly offers, that it was doubtful if anything 
could save them, but that if they took no steps they 
were certainly lost as a nation. The " Fathers of the 
land," however, declined to dance to the President'? 
piping. Then he took a bolder line. He told them 
that a guilty nation never can evade the judgment 
that follows its steps. He asked them " conscientiously 
to advise the people not obstinately to refuse a union 
with a powerful Government. He could not advise 
them to refuse such a union. , . . He did not believe 
that a new constitution would save them ; for as little 
as the old constitution had brought them to ruin, so 
little would a new constitution bring salvation. . . , 
If the citizens of England had behaved towards the 
Crown as the burghers of this State had behaved to 
their Government, England would never have stood 
so long as she had." He pointed out to them their 
hopeless financial position. " To-day," he said, " a bill 
for ;fiioo was laid before me for signature; but I 


would sooner have cut off my right hand than sign 
that paper — (cheers) — for I have not the slightest 
ground to expect that, when that bill becomes due, 
there will be a penny to pay it with." And finally, 
he exhorted them thus : " Let them make the best of 
the situation, and get the best terms they possibly 
could ; let them agree to join their hands to those of 
their brethren in the south, and then from the Cape 
to the Zambesi there would be one great people. 
Yes, there was something grand in that, grander even 
than their idea of a Eepublic, something which minis- 
tered to their national feeling — (cheers) — and would 
this be so miserable ? Yes, this would be miserable 
for those who would not be under the law, for the 
rebel and the revolutionist, but welfare and prosperity 
for the men of law and order." 

These powerful words form a strong indictment 
against the Eepublic, and from them there can be little 
doubt that President Burgers was thoroughly convinced 
of the necessity and wisdom of the Annexation. It 
is interesting to compare them, and many other utter- 
ances of his made at this period, with the opinions he 
expresses in the posthumous document recently pub- 
lished, in which he speaks somewhat jubilantly of the 
lessons taught us on Laing's Nek and Majuba by such 
" an inherently weak people as the Boers," and points 
to them as striking instances of retribution. In this 
document he attributes the Annexation to the desire 
to advance English supremacy in South Africa, and to 
lay hold of the way to Central South Africa. It is, 
however, noticeable that he does not in any way indi- 
cate how it could have been averted, and the State 
continue to exist ; and he seems all along to feel that 


his case is a weak one, for in explaining, or attempting 
to explain, why he had never defended himself from 
the charges brought against him in connection with 
the Annexation, he says : " Had I not endured in 
silence, had I not borne patiently all the accusations, 
but out of selfishness or fear told the plain truth of 
the case, the Transvaal would never have had the con- 
sideration it has now received from Great Britain. How- 
ever unjust the Annexation was, my self-justification 
would have exposed the Boers to stock an extent, and the 
state of the country in such a way, that it would have 
deprived them both of the sympathy of the world and 
the consideration of the English politicians." In other 
words, "If I had told the truth about things as I 
should have been obliged to do to justify myself, there 
would have been no more outcry about the Annexa- 
tion, because the whole world, even the English 
Eadicals, would have recognised how necessary it was. 
and what a fearful state the country was in." 

But to let that pass, it is evident that President 
Burgers did not take the same view of the Annexation 
in 1877 as he did in 188 1, and indeed his speeches 
to the Volksraad would read rather oddly printed in 
parallel columns with his posthumous statement. The 
reader would be forced to one of two conclusions, 
either on one of the two occasions he is saying what 
he does not mean, or he must have changed his mind. 
As I believe him to have been an honest man, I 
incline to the latter supposition ; nor do I consider it 
so very hard to account for, taking into consideration 
his natural Dutch proclivities. In 1877 Burgers is 
the despairing head of a State driving rapidly to ruin, 
if not to actual extinction, when the strong hand of 



the English Government is held out to him. What 
wonder that he accepts it gladly on behalf of his 
country, which is by its help brought into a state of 
greater prosperity than it has ever before known ? In 
1 88 1 the wheel has gone round, and great events 
have come about whilst he lies dying. The enemies 
of the Boers have been destroyed, the powers of the 
Zulus and Secocoeni are no more; the country has 
prospered under a healthy rule, and its finances have 
been restored. More, — glad tidings have come from 
Mid-Lothian to the " rebel and the revolutionist," 
whose hopes were flagging, and eloquent words have 
been spoken by the new English Dictator that have 
aroused a great rebellion. And, to crown all, English 
troops have suffered one massacre and three defeats, 
and England sues for peace from the South African 
peasant, heedless of honour or her broken word, so 
that the prayer be granted. "With such events before 
him, that dying man may well have found cause to 
change his opinion. Doubtless the Annexation was 
wrong, since England disowns her acts ; and may not 
that dream about the great South African Kepublic 
come true after all ? Has not the pre-eminence of the 
Englishman received a blow from which it can never 
recover, and is not his control over Boers and natives 
irredeemably weakened ? And must he, — Burgers, — 
go down to posterity as a Dutchman who tried to for- 
ward the interests of the English party ? No, doubt- 
less the Annexation was wrong ; but it has done good, 
for it has brought about the downfall of the English : 
and we will end the argument in the very words of 
his last public utterance, with which he ends his 
statement : " South Africa gained more from this, and 


has made a larger step forward in the march of freedom 
than most people can conceive." 

Who shall say that he is wrong? the words of 
dying men are sometimes prophetic I South Africa 
has made a great advance towards the " freedom ** of 
a Dutch Eepublic. 

This has been a digression, but I hope not an un- 
interesting one. To return — on the ist March, Sir 
T. Shepstone met the Executive Council, and told 
them that in his opinion there was now but one 
remedy to be adopted, and that was that the Trans- 
vaal should be united with the English colonies of 
South Africa under one head, namely the Queen, say- 
ing at the same time that the only thing now left to 
the Eepublic was to make the best arrangements it 
could for the future benefit of its inhabitants, and to 
submit to that which he saw to be, and every thinking 
man saw to be, inevitable. So soon as this information 
was officially communicated to the Eaad, for a good 
proportion of its members were already acquainted with 
it unofficially, it flew from a state of listless indifference 
into vigorous and hasty action. The President was 
censured, and a committee was appointed to consider 
and report upon the situation, which reported in favour 
of the adoption of Burgers' new constitution. Accord- 
ingly, the greatest part of this measure, which had 
been contemptuously rejected a few days before, was 
adopted almost without question, and Mr. Paul Kruger 
was appointed Vice-President. On the following day, 
a very drastic treason law was passed, borrowed from 
the statute-book of the Orange Free State, which 
made all public expression of opinion, if adverse to the 
Government, or in any way supporting the Annexa- 


tion party, high treason. This done, the Assembly 
prorogued itself until — October 1881 

During and after the sitting of the Raad, rumours 
arose that the chief Secocoeni's signature to the treaty 
of peace, ratified by that body, had been obtained by 
misrepresentation. As ratified, this treaty consisted 
of three articles, according to which Secocoeni con- 
sented, first, to become a subject of the Republic, and 
obey the laws of the country ; secondly, to agree to a 
certain restricted boundary line ; and, thirdly, to pay 
2000 head of cattle; which, considering he had cap- 
tured quite 5000 head, was not exorbitant. 

Towards the end of February a written message 
was received from Secocoeni by Sir T. Shepstone, dated 
efter the signing of the supposed treaty. The original, 
which was written in Sisutu, was a great curiosity. 
The following is a correct translation : — 

Ftbruary 16, 1877. 
" For Myn Heer Sheepstone, — I beg you, Chief, 
come help me, the Boers are killing me, and I don't 
know the reasons why they should be angry with me ; 
Chief, I beg you come with Myn Heer Merensky. — 
I am SiKUKUNi." 

This message was accompanied by a letter from 
Mr. Merensky, a well-known and successful mis- 
sionary, who had been for many years resident in 
Secocoeni*s country, in which he stated that he heard 
on very good authority that Secocoeni had distinctly 
refused to agree to that article of the treaty by which 
he became a subject of the State. He adds that he 
cannot remain " silent while such tricks are played." 


Upon this information, Sir T. Shepstone wrote to 
President Burgers, stating that " if the officer in whom 
you have placed confidence has withheld any portion 
of the truth from you, especially so serious a portion 
of it, he is guilty of a wrong towards you personally, 
as well as towards the Government, because he has 
caused you to assume an untenable position," and 
suggesting that a joint-commission should be despatched 
to Secocceni, to thoroughly sift the question in the 
interest of all concerned. This suggestion was after 
some delay agreed to, and a commission was appointed, 
consisting of Mr. Van Gorkom, a Hollander, and Mr. 
Holtshausen, a member of the Executive Council, on 
behalf of the Transvaal Government, and Mr. Osborn, 
R.M., and Captain Clarke, K.A.,^ on behalf of the 
Commissioner, whom I accompanied as Secretary. 

At Middleburg the native Gideon who acted as 
interpreter between Commandant Ferreira, C.M.G. 
(the officer who negotiated the treaty on behalf of the 
Boer Government), and Secocceni was examined, and 
also two natives, Petros and Jeremiah, who were with 
him, but did not actually interpret. All these men 
persisted that Secocceni had positively refused to be- 
come a subject of the Republic, and only consented to 
sign the treaty on the representations of Commandant 
Ferreira that it would only be binding as regards to the 
two articles about the cattle and the boundary line. 

The Commission then proceeded to Secocoeni's town, 
accompanied by a fresh set of interpreters, and had 
a long interview with Secocceni The chiefs Prime 
Minister or " mouth," Makurupiji, speaking in his 

^ Now Sir Maraball Olarke, Special Cornxnissioner for Basutoland. 


presence and on his behalf, and making use of the 
pronoun " I " before all the assembled headmen of the 
tribe, gave an account of the interview between Com- 
mandant Ferreira in the presence of that gentleman, 
who accompanied the Commission, and Secocceni, in 
almost the same words as had been used by the in- 
terpreters at Middleburg. He distinctly denied having 
consented to become a subject of the Eepublic or to 
stand under the law, and added that he feared he 
" had touched the feather to " (signed) things that he 
did not know of in the treaty. Commandant Ferreira 
then put some questions, but entirely failed to shake 
the evidence ; on the contrary, he admitted by his 
questions that Secocceni had not consented to become 
a subject of the Eepublic. Secocceni had evidently 
signed the piece of paper under the impression that 
he was acknowledging his liability to pay 2000 head 
of cattle, and fixing a certain portion of his boundary 
line, and on the distinct understanding that he was 
not to become a subject of the State. 

Now it was the Secocceni war that had brought 
the English Mission into the country, and if it could 
be shown that the Secocceni war had come to a 
successful termination, it would go far towards help- 
ing the Mission out again. To this end, it was 
necessary that^ the chief should declare himself a 
subject of the State, and thereby, by implication, 
acknowledge himself to have been a rebel, and admit 
his defeat. All that was required was a signature, 
and that once obtained the treaty was published and 
submitted to the Eaad for confirmation, without a 
whisper being heard of the conditions under which 
this ignorant Baauto was induced to sign. Had no 


Commission visited Secocoeni, this treaty would after- 
wards have been produced against him in its entirety. 
Altogether, the history of the Secocoeni Peace Treaty 
does not reassure one as to the genuineness of the 
treaties which the Boers are continually producing, 
purporting to have been signed by native chiefs, and, 
as a general rule, presenting the State with great 
tracts of country in exchange for a horse or a few 
oxen. However fond the natives may be of their 
Boer neighbours, such liberality can scarcely be genuine. 
On the other hand, it is so easy to induce a savage to 
sign a paper, or even, if he is reticent, to make a cross 
for him, and once made, as we all know, litera scripta 
manety and becomes title to the lands. 

During the Secocoeni investigation, affairs in the 
Transvaal were steadily drifting towards anarchy. 
The air was filled with rumours ; now it was reported 
that an outbreak was imminent amongst the English 
population at the Gold Fields, who had never forgotten 
Von Schlickmann's kind suggestion that they should 
be " subdued ; " now it was said that Cety wayo had 
crossed the border, and might shortly be expected at 
Pretoria ; now that a large body of Boers were on their 
road to shoot the Special Commissioner, his twenty-five 
policemen, and Englishmen generally, and so on. 

Meanwhile, Paul Kruger and his party were not 
letting the grass grow under their feet, but worked 
public feeling with great vigour, with the double 
object of getting Paul made President and ridding 
themselves of the English. Articles in his support 
were printed in the well-known Dutch pa^er IHe 
Patriot, published in. the Cape Colony, which are so 
typical of the Boers and of the only literature that 


has the slightest influence over them, that I will quote 
a few extracts from one of them. 

After drawing a very vivid picture of the wretched 
condition of the country as compared to what it was 
when the Kafirs had " a proper respect " for the 
Boers, before Burgers came into power, the article 
proceeds to give the cause of this state of affairs. 
"God's word," it says, "gives us the solution. Look 
at Israel, while the people have a godly king, every- 
thing is prosperous, but under a godless prince the 
land retrogrades, and the whole of the people must 
suffer. Kead Leviticus, chapter xxvi., with attention, 
&c. In the day of the Voortrekkers (pioneers), a 
handful of men chased a thousand Kafirs and made 
them run; so also in the Free State war (Deut. 
xxxii. 30; Joe. xxiii. 10; Lev. xxvi. 8). But mark, 
now, when Burgers became President, he knows no 
Sabbath, he rides through the land in and out of town 
on Sunday, he knows not the church and God's 
service (Lev. xxvi. 2, 3), to the scandal of pious 
people. And he formerly was a priest too. And 
what is the consequence ? No harvest (Lev. xxvi. 
16), an army of 6000 men runs because one man 
falls (Lev. xxvi 1 7, &c.). What is now the remedy ? " 
The remedy proves to be Paul Kruger, " because there 
is no other candidate. Because our Lord clearly 
points him out to be the man, for why is there no 
other candidate ? Who arranged it this way ? " Then 
follows a rather odd argument in favour of Paul's 
election. " Because he himself (Paul Kruger) acknow- 
ledges in his own reply that he is incompeterU, but 
that all his ability is from our Lord. Because he 
is a warrior. Because he is a Boer." Then Paul 


Kruger, the warrior and the Boer, is compared to 
Joan of Arc, "a simple Boer girl who came from 
behind the sheep." The burghers of the Transvaal 
are exhorted to acknowledge the hand of the Lord, 
and elect Paul Kruger, or to look for still heavier 
punishment. (Lev. xxvi. 1 8 et seq.) Next the 
Patriot proceeds to give a bit of advice to " our 
candidate, Paul Kruger." He is to deliver the land 
from the Kafirs. "The Lord has given you the 
heart of a warrior, arise and drive them," a bit of 
advice quite suited to his well-known character. But 
this chosen vessel was not to get all the loaves and 
fishes ; on the contrary, as soon as he had fulfilled his 
jiiission of " driving " the Kafirs, he was to hand over 
his office to a "good" President. The article ends 
thus : " If the Lord wills to use you now to deliver 
this land from its enemiea, and a day of peace and 
prosperity arises again, and you see that you are not 
exactly the statesman to further govern the Eepublic, 
then it will be your greatest honour to say, * Citizens, 
I have delivered you from the enemy, I am no states- 
man, but now you have peace and time to choose and 
elect a good President.* " 

An article such as the above, is instructive reading, 
as showing the low calibre of the minds that are 
influenced by it. Yet such writings and sermons 
have more power among the Boers than any other 
arguments, appealing as they do to the fanaticism 
and vanity of their nature, which causes them to 
believe that the Divinity is continually interfering on 
their behalf at the cost of other people. It will be 
noticed that the references given are all to the Old 
Testament, and nearly all refer to acts of blood. 


These doctrines were not, however, at all acceptable 
to Burgers' party, or the more enlightened members 
of the community, and so bitter did the struggle of 
rival opinions become that there is very little doubt 
that had the country not been annexed, civil war 
would have been added to its other calamities. Mean- 
while the natives were from day to day becoming 
more restless, and messengers were constantly arriving 
at the Special Commissioner's camp, begging that their 
tribe might be put under the Queen, and stating that 
they would fight rather than submit any longer to the 

At length on the 9th April, Sir T. Shepstone in- 
formed the Government of the Eepublic that he was 
about to declare the Transvaal British territory. He 
told them that he had considered and reconsidered 
his determination, but that he could see no possible 
means within the State by which it could free itself 
from the burdens that were sinking it to destruction, 
adding that if he could have found such means he 
would certainly not have hidden them from the 
Government. This intimation was received in silence, 
though all the later proceedings with reference to the 
Annexation were in reality carried out in concert with 
the authorities of the Eepublic. Thus on the 13 th 
March the Government submitted a paper of ten 
questions to Sir T. Shepstone as regards the future 
condition of the Transvaal under English rule, whether 
the debts of the State would be guaranteed, &c. To 
these questions replies were given which were on the 
whole satisfactory to the Government. As these re- 
plies formed the basis of the proclamation eruarantees, 
it is not necessary to enter into them. 


It was further arranged by the Republican Govern* 
ment that a formal protest should be entered against 
the Annexation, which was accordingly prepared and 
privately shown to the Special Commissioner. The 
Annexation proclamation was also shown to President 
Burgers, and a paragraph eliminated at his sugges- 
tion. In fact, the Special Commissioner and the 
President, together with most of his Executive, were 
quite at one as regards the necessity of the proclama- 
tion being issued, their joint endeavours being directed 
to the prevention of any disturbance, and to secure a 
good reception for the change. 

At length, after three months of inquiry and nego- 
tiation, the proclamation of annexation was on the 
1 2th of April 1877 read by Mr. Osborn, accompanied 
by some other gentlemen of Sir T. Shepstone's staff. 
It was an anxious moment for all concerned. To use 
the words of the Special Commissioner in his despatch 
home on the subject, "Every effort had been made 
during the previous fortnight by, it is said, educated 
Hollanders, and who had but lately arrived in the 
country, to rouse the fanaticism of the Boers, and to 
induce them to offer * bloody' resistance to what it 
was known I intended to do. The Boers were 
appealed to in the most inHammatory language by 
printed manifestoes and memorials; .... it was 
urged that I had but a small escort, which could 
easily be overpowered." In a country so full of 
desperadoes and fanatical haters of anything English, 
it was more than possible that, though such an act 
would have been condemned by the general sense of 
the country, a number of men could easily be found 
who would think they were doing a righteous act in 


greeting the " annexationists " with an ovation of 
bullets. I do not mean that the anxiety was personal, 
because I do not think the members of that small 
party set any higher value on their lives than other 
people, but it was absolutely necessary for the success 
of the act itself, and for the safety of the country, 
that not a single shot should be fired. Had that 
happened it is probable that the whole country would 
have been involved in confusion and bloodshed, the 
Zulus would have broken in, and the Kafirs would 
have risen ; in fact, to use Cety wayo's words, " the 
land would have burned with fire." 

It will therefore be easily understood what an 
anxious hour that was both for the Special Commis- 
sioner sitting up at Government House, and for his 
staff down on the Market Square^ and how thankful 
they were when the proclamation was received with 
hearty cheers by the crowd. Mr. Burgers' protest, 
which was read immediately afterwards, was received 
in respectful silence. 

And thus the Transvaal Territory passed for a 
while into the great family of the English Colonies. 
I believe that the greatest political opponent of the 
act will bear tribute to the very remarkable ability 
with which it was carried out. When the variety 
and number of the various interests that had to be 
conciliated, the obstinate nature of the individuals who 
had to be convinced, as well as the innate hatred of 
the English name and ways which had to be overcome 
to carry out this act successfully, are taken into con- 
sideration, together with a thousand other matters, 
the neglect of any one of which would have sufficed 
to make failure certain, it will be seen what tact and 


skill and knowledge of human nature was required 
to execute so difl&cult a task. It must be remem- 
bered that no force was used, and that there never 
was any threat of force. The few troops that were 
to enter the Transvaal were four weeks* march from 
Pretoria at the time. There was nothing whatso- 
ever to prevent the Boers putting a summary stop 
to the proceedings of the Commissioner if they had 
thought fit. 

That Sir Theophilus played a bold and hazardous 
game nobody will deny, but, like most players who 
combine boldness with coolness of head and justice of 
cause, he won ; and, without shedding a single drop 
of blood, or even confiscating an acre of land, and at 
no cost, annexed a great country, and averted a very 
serious war. That same country four years later cost 
us a million of money, the loss of nearly a thousand 
men killed and wounded, and the ruin of many more 
confiding thousands, to surrender. It is true, however, 
that nobody can accuse the retrocession of having 
been conducted with judgment or ability — very much 
the contrary. 

There can be no more ample justification of the 
issue of the Annexation proclamation than the pro- 
clamation itself. 

First, it touches on the Sand Eiver Convention of 
1852, by which independence was granted to the 
State, and shows that the " evident objects and in- 
citing motives " in granting such guarantee were to 
promote peace, free-trade, and friendly intercourse, in 
the hope and belief that the Eepublic " would become 
a flourishing and self-sustaining State, a source of 
strength and security to neighbouring European com- 


munities, and a point from which Christianity and 
civilisation might rapidly spread toward Central 
Africa." It goes on to show how these hopes have 
been disappointed, and how that " increasing weakness 
in the State itself on the one side, and more than 
corresponding growth of real strength and confidence 
among the native tribes on the other, have produced 
their natural and inevitable consequence . . . that 
after more or less of irritating conflict with aboriginal 
tribes to the north, there commenced about the year 
1867 gradual abandonment to the natives in that 
direction of territory settled by burghers of the Trans- 
vaal "in well-built towns and villages and on granted 

It goes on to show that " this decay of power and 
^bb of authority in the north is being followed by 
similar processes in the south under yet more dan- 
gerous circumstances. People of this State residing 
in that direction have been compelled within the last 
three months, at the bidding of native chiefs, and at a 
moment's notice, to leave their farms and homes, their 
standing crops ... all to be taken possession of by 
natives, but that the Government is more powerless 
than ever to vindicate its assumed rights or to resist 
the declension that is threatening its existence." It 
then recitea^ how all the other colonies and communi- 
ties of South Africa have lost confidence in the State, 
how it is in a condition of hopeless bankruptcy, and 
its commerce annihilated, whilst the inhabitants are 
divided into factions, and the Government has fallen 
into "helpless paralysis." How also the prospect of 
the election of a new President, instead of being 
looked forward to with hope, would in the opinion of 


all parties be the signal for civil war, anarchy, and 
bloodshed. How that this state of things affords the 
very strongest temptation to the great neighbouring 
native powers to attack the country, a temptation 
that they were only too ready and anxious to yield 
to, and that the State was in far too feeble a condi- 
tion to repel such attacks, from which it had hitherto 
only been saved by the repeated representations of 
the Government of Natal. The next paragraphs I 
will quote as they stand, for they sum up the reasons 
for the Annexation. 

"That the Secocceni war, which would have pro- 
duced but little effect on a healthy constitution, has 
not only proved suddenly fatal to the resources and 
reputation of the Kepublic, but has shown itself to be 
a culminating point in the history of South Africa, in 
that a Makatee or Basuto tribe, unwarlike and of no 
account in Zulu estimation, successfully withstood the 
strength of the State, and disclosed for the first time 
to the native powers outside the Republic, from the 
Zambesi to the Cape, the great change that had taken 
place in the relative strength of the white and black 
races, that this disclosure at once shook the prestige 
of the white man in South Africa, and placed every 
European community in peril, that this common danger 
has caused universal anxiety, has given to all con- 
cerned the right to investigate its cause, and to protect 
themselves from its consequences, and has imposed 
the duty upon those who have the power to shield 
enfeebled civilisation from the encroachments of bar- 
barism and inhumanity." It proceeds to point out 
that the Transvaal will be the first to suffer from the 
results of its own policy, and that it is for every 


reason perfectly impossible for Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment to stand by and see a friendly white State 
ravaged, knowing that its own possessions will be the 
next to suffer. That Her Majesty's Government, 
being persuaded that the only means to prevent 
such a catastrophe would be by the annexation of the 
country, and, knowing that this was the wish of a 
large proportion of the inhabitants of the Transvaal, 
the step must be taken. Next follows the formal 

Together with the proclamation, an address was 
issued by Sir T. Shepstone to the burghers of the 
State, laying the facts before them in a friendly 
manner, more suited to their mode of thought than 
it was possible to do in a formal proclamation. 
This document, the issue of which was one of those 
touches that insured the success of the Annexation, 
was a powerful summing up in colloquial language of 
the arguments used in the proclamation, strengthened 
by quotations from the speeches of the President. It 
ends with these words : " It remains only for me to 
beg of you to consider and weigh what I have said 
calmly and without undue prejudice. Let not mere 
feeling or sentiment prevail over your judgment. 
Accept what Her Majesty's Government intends shall 
be, and what you will soon find from experience, is a 
blessing not only to you and your children, but to 
the whole of South Africa through you, and believe 
that I speak these words to you as a friend from my 

Two other proclamations were also issued, one 
notifying the assumption of the office of Administrator 
of the Government by Sir T. Shepstone, and the other 


repealing the war-tax, which was doubtless an unequal 
and oppressive impost. 

I have in the preceding pages stated all the prin- 
cipal grounds of the Annexation and briefly sketched 
the history of that event In the next chapter I 
propose to follow the fortunes of the Transvaal, under 
British Kule. 



The news of the Annexation was received all over the 
country with a sigh of relief, and in many parts of it 
with great rejoicings. At the Gold Fields, for instance, 
special thanksgiving services were held, and " God save 
the Queen " was sung in church. Nowhere was there 
the slightest disturbance, but, on the contrary, addresses 
of congratulation and thanks literally poured in by 
every mail, many of them signed by Boers who have 
since been conspicuous for their bitter opposition to 
English rule. At first, there was some doubt as to 
what would be the course taken under the circum- 
stances by the volunteers enlisted by the late Eepublic. 
Major Clarke, E.A., was sent to convey the news, and 
to take command of them, unaccompanied save by his 
Kafir servant. On arrival at the principal fort, he at 
once ordered the Eepublican flag to be hauled down 
and the UAion Jack run up, and his orders were 
promptly obeyed. A few days afterwards some mem- 
bers of the force thought better of it, and having made 
up their minds to kill him, came to the tent where he 
was sitting to carry out their purpose. On learning 
their kind intentions, Major Clarke fixed his eye-glass 

in his eye, and after steadily glaring at them through 



it for some time, said, " You are all drunk, go back to 
your tents." The volunteers, quite overcome by his 
coolness and the fixity of his gaze, at once slipped off, 
and there was no further trouble. About three weeks 
after the Annexation, the i-i3th Regiment arrived at 
Pretoria, having been very well received all along the 
road by the Boers, who came from miles round to hear 
the band play. Its entry into Pretoria was quite a 
sight ; the whole population turned out to meet it ; 
indeed the feeling of rejoicing and relief was so pro- 
found that when the band began to play " God save the 
Queen " some of the women burst into tears. 

Meanwhile the effect of the Annexation on the 
country was perfectly magical. Credit and commerce 
were at once restored; the railway bonds that were 
down to nothing in Holland rose with one bound to 
par, and the value of landed property nearly doubled. 
Indeed it would have been possible for any one, know- 
ing what was going to happen, to have realised large 
sums of money by buying land in the beginning of 
1877, and selling it shortly after the Annexation. 

On the 24th May, being Her Majesty's birthday, all 
the native chiefs who were anywhere within reach 
were summoned to attend the first formal hoisting of 
the English flag. The day was a general festival, and 
the ceremony was attended by a large number of Boers 
and natives in addition to all the English. At mid- 
day, amidst the cheers of the crowd, the salute of 
artillery, and the strains of " God save the Queen," the 
Union Jack was run up a lofty flagstaff, and the Trans- 
vaal was formally announced to be British soil. The 
flag was hoisted by Colonel Brooke, RE., and the 
present writer. Speaking for myself, I may say that 


it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Could 
I have foreseen that I should live to see that same flag, 
then hoisted with so much joyous ceremony, within a 
few years shamefully and dishonourably hauled down 
and buried,* I think it would have been the most 

The Annexation was as well received in England as 
it was in the Transvaal. Lord Carnarvon wrote to Sir 
T. Shepstone to convey "the Queen's entire approval 
of your conduct since you received Her Majesty's com- 
mission, with a renewal of my own thanks on behalf 
of the Government for the admirable prudence and 
discretion with which you have discharged a great 
and unwonted responsibility." It was also accepted 
by Parliament with very few dissentient voices, since 
it was not till afterwards, when the subject became 
useful as an electioneering howl, that the Liberal party, 
headed by our " powerful popular minister," discovered 
the deep iniquity that had been perpetrated in South 
Africa. So satisfied were the Transvaal Boers with the 
change that Messrs. Kruger, Jorissen, and Bok, who 
formed the deputation to proceed to England and 
present President Burgers' formal protest against the 
Annexation, found great difficulty in raising one-half 
of the necessary expenses — something under one thou- 
sand pounds — towards the cost of the undertaking. 
The thirst for independence cannot have been very great 
when all the wealthy burghers in the Transvaal put 
together would not subscribe a thousand pounds towards 
retaining it. Indeed, at this time the members of the 
deputation themselves seem to have looked upon their 

^ The English flag was during the signing of the Convention at Pre 
toria formally buried by a large crowd of Englishmen and loyal nativM. 


undertaking as being both doubtful and undesirable, 
since they informed Sir T. Shepstone that they were 
going to Europe to discharge an obligation which had 
been imposed upon them, and if the mission failed, 
they would have done their duty. Mr. Kruger said 
that if they did fail, he would be found to be as faith- 
ful a subject under the new form of government as he 
had been under the old; and Dr. Jorissen admitted 
with equal frankness that " the change was inevitable, 
and expressed his belief that the cancellation of it 
would be calamitous." 

Whilst the Annexation was thus well received in 
the country immediately interested, a lively agitation 
was commenced in the Western Province of the Cape 
Colony, a thousand miles away, with a view of inducing 
the Home Government to repudiate Sir T. Shepstone's 
act. The reason of this movement was that the Cape 
Dutch party, caring little or nothing for the real interests 
of the Transvaal, did care a great deal about their scheme 
to turn all the white communities of South Africa into 
a great Dutch Kepublic, to which they thought the 
Annexation would be a deathblow. As I have said 
elsewhere, it must be borne in mind that the strings 
of the anti- annexation agitation have all along been 
pulled in the Western Province, whilst the Transvaal 
Boers have played the parts of puppets. The instru- 
ments used by the leaders of the movement in the 
Cape were, for the most part, the discontented and 
unprincipled Hollander element, a newspaper of an 
extremely abusive nature called the Volkstem, and 
another in Natal known as the HatcU Witiiess, lately 
edited by the notorious Aylward, which has an almost 
equally unenviable reputation. 


On the arrival of Messrs. Jorissen and Kruger in 
England, they were received with great civility by 
Lord Carnarvon, who was, however, careful to explain 
to them that the Annexation was irrevocable. In this 
decision they cheerfully acquiesced, assuring his lord- 
ship of their determination to do all they could to in- 
duce the Boers to accept the new state of things, and 
expressing their desire to be allowed to serve under 
the new Government. 

Whilst these gentlemen were thus satisfactorily ar- 
ranging matters with Lord Carnarvon, Sir. T. Shepstone 
was making a tour round the country which resembled 
a triumphal progress more than anything else. He was 
everywhere greeted with enthusiasm by all classes of 
the community, Boers, English, and natives, and numer- 
ous addresses were presented to him couched in the 
warmest language, not only by Englishmen, but also 
by Boers. 

It is very difficult to reconcile the enthusiasm of a 
great number of the inhabitants of the Transvaal for 
English rule, and the quiet acquiescence of the remain- 
der, at this time, with the decidedly antagonistic atti- 
tude assumed later on. It appears to me, however, that 
there are several reasons that go far towards accounting 
for it. The Transvaal, when we annexed it, was in the 
position of a man with a knife at his throat, who is 
suddenly rescued by some one stronger than he, on cer- 
tain conditions which at the time he gladly accepts, but 
afterwards, when the danger is passed, wishes to repu- 
diate. In the same way the inhabitants of the South 
African Kepublic were in the time of need very thank- 
ful for our aid, but after a while, when the recollection 
of their difficulties had grown faint, when their debts 


had been paid and their enemies defeated, they began 
to think that they would like to get rid of us again, and 
start fresh on their own account with a clean sheet. 
What fostered agitation more than anything else, how- 
ever, was the perfect impunity with which it was allowed 
to be carried on. Had only a little firmness and decision 
been shown in the first instance there would have been 
no further trouble. We might have been obliged to 
confiscate half-a-dozen farms, and perhaps imprison as 
many free burghers for a few months, and there it 
would have ended. Neither Boers or natives under- 
stand our namby-pamby way of playing at government; 
they put it down to fear. What they want, and what 
they expect, is to be governed with a just but a firm 
hand. Thus when the Boers found that they could agi- 
tate with impunity, they naturally enough continued to 
agitate. Anybody who knows them will understand 
that it was very pleasant to them to find themselves in 
possession of that delightful thing, a grievance, and, in- 
stead of stopping quietly at home on their farms, to feel 
obliged to proceed, full of importance and long words, 
to a distant meeting, there to spout and listen to the 
spouting of others. It is so much easier to talk politics 
than to sow mealies. Some attribute the discontent 
among the Boers to the postponement of the carrying 
out of the Annexation proclamation promises with re- 
ference to the free institutions to be granted to the 
country, but in my opinion it had little or nothing to 
do with it. The Boers never understood the question 
of responsible government, and never wanted that in- 
stitution; what they did want was to be free of all 
English control, and this they said twenty times in the 
most outspoken language. I think there is little doubt 


the causes I have indicated are the real sources of the 
agitation, though there must be added to them their 
detestation of our mode of dealing with natives, and of 
being forced to pay taxes regularly, and also the cease- 
less agitation of the Cape wire-pullers, through their 
agents the Hollanders, and their organs in the press. 

On the return of Messrs. Kruger and Jorissen to the 
Transvaal, the latter gentleman resumed his duties as 
Attorney- General, on which occasion, if I remember 
aright, I myself had the honour of administering to 
him the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty, that he 
afterwards kept so well. The former reported the pro- 
ceedings of the deputation to a Boer meeting, when he 
took a very different tone to that in which he addressee' 
Lord Carnarvon, announcing that if there existed a 
majority of the people in favour of independence, b" 
still was Vice-President of the country. 

Both these gentlemen remained for some time in 
the pay of the British Government, Mr. Jorissen as 
Attorney-General, and Mr. Kruger as member of the 
Executive Council. The Government, however, at 
length found it desirable to dispense with their services, 
though on different grounds. Mr. Jorissen had, like 
several other members of the Eepublican Government, 
been a clergyman, and was quite unfit to hold the post 
of Attorney-General in an important colony like the 
Transvaal, where legal questions were constantly arising 
requiring all the attention of a trained mind ; and after 
he had on several occasions been publicly admonished 
from the bench, the Government retired him on liberal 
terms. Needless to say, his opposition to English rule 
then became very bitter. Mr. Kruger's appointment 
expired by law in November 1877, and the Government 


did not think it advisable to re-employ him. The 
terms of his letter of dismissal can be found on page 
135 of Blue-book (c. 144), and involving as they do a 
serious charge of misrepresentation in money matters, 
are not very creditable to him. After this event he 
also pursued the cause of independence with increased 

During the last months of 1877 and the first part of 
1878 agitation against British rule went on unchecked, 
and at last grew to alarming proportions, so much so 
that Sir T. Shepstone, on his return from the Zulu 
border in March 1878, where he had been for some 
months discussing the vexed and dangerous question 
of the boundary line with the Zulus, found it necessary 
to issue a stringent proclamation warning the agitators 
that their proceedings and meetings were illegal, and 
would be punished according to law. This document, 
which was at the time vulgarly known as the " Hold- 
your-jaw " proclamation, not being followed by action, 
produced but little effect. 

On the 4th April 1878 another Boer meeting was 
convened, at which it was decided to send a second 
deputation to England, to consist this time of Messrs. 
Kruger and Joubert, with Mr. Bok as secretary. This 
deputation proved as abortive as the first, Sir, M. Hicks 
Beach assuring it, in a letter dated 6th August 1878, 
that it is " impossible, for many reasons, . . . that the 
Queen's sovereignty should now be withdrawn." 

Whilst the Government was thus hampered by in- 
ternal disaffection, it had also many other difficulties 
on its hands. First, there was the Zulu boundary 
question, which was constantly developing new dangers 
to the country. Indeed, it was impossible to say what 



might happen in that direction from one week to another, 
Nor were its relations with SecoccEni satisfactory. It 
will be remembered that just before the Annexation 
this chief had expressed his earnest wish to become 
a British subject, and even paid over part of the fine 
demanded from him by the Boer Government to the 
Civil Commissioner, Major Clarke. In March 1878, 
however, his conduct towards the Government under- 
went a sudden change, and he practically declared war. 
It afterwards appeared, from Secocoeni's own statement, 
that he was instigated to this step by a Boer, Abel 
Erasmus by name — the same man who was concerned 
in the atrocities in the first Secocceni war — who con- 
stantly encouraged him to continue the struggle. I do 
not propose to minutely follow the course of this long 
war, which, commencing in the beginning of 1878, did 
not come to an end till after the Zulu war : when Sir 
Garnet Wolseley attacked SecoccBni's stronghold with 
a large force of troops, volunteers, and Swazi allies, and 
took it with great slaughter. The losses on our side 
were not very heavy, so far as white men were con- 
cerned, but the Swazis are reported to have lost 400 
killed and 500 wounded. 

The struggle was, during the long period preceding 
the final attack, carried on with great courage and 
ability by Majpr Clarke, E.A., C.M.G., whose force, at 
the best of times, only consisted of 200 volunteers and 
100 Zulus. With this small body of men he contrived, 
however, to keep Secocceni in check, and to take some 
important strongholds. It was marked also by some 
striking acts of individual bravery, of which one, per- 
formed by Major Clarke himself, whose reputation for 
cool courage and presence of mind in danger is unsur- 


passed in South Africa, is worthy of notice ; and which, 
had public attention been more concentrated on the Seco- 
coeni war, would doubtless have won him the Victoria 
Cross. On one occasion, on visiting one of the outlying 
forts, he found that a party of hostile natives, who were 
coming down to the fort on the previous day with a flag 
of truce, had been accidentally fired on, and had at once 
retreated. As his system in native warfare was always 
to try and inspire his enemy with perfect faith in the 
honour of Englishmen, and their contempt of all tricks 
and treachery even towards a foe, he was very angry 
at this occurrence, and at once, unarmed and unat- 
tended save by his native servant, rode up into the 
mountains to the kraal from which the white flag party 
had come on the previous day, and apologised to the 
chief for what had happened. When I consider how 
very anxious Secocceni's natives were to kill or capture 
Clarke, whom they held in great dread, and how terrible 
the end of so great a captain would in all probability 
have been had he been taken alive by these masters of 
reflned torture, I confess that I think this act of gentle- 
manly courage is one of the most astonishing things I 
ever heard of. When he rode up those hills he must 
have known that he was probably going to meet his 
death at the hands of justly incensed savages. When 
Secocoeni heard of what Major Clarke had done he was 
so pleased that he shortly afterwards released a volun- 
teer whom he had taken prisoner, and who would other- 
wise, in all probability, have been tortured to death. I 
must add that Major Clarke himself never reported or 
alluded to this incident, but an account of it can be 
found in a despatch written by Sir 0. Lanyon to the 
Secretary of State, dated 2d February 1880, 


Concurrently with, though entirely distinct from, the 
political agitation that was being carried on among the 
Boers having for object the restoration of independence, 
a private agitation was set on foot by a few disaffected 
persons against Sir T. Shepstone, with the view of ob- 
taining his removal from office in favour of a certain 
Colonel Weatherley. The details of this impudent plot 
are so interesting, and the plot itself so typical of the 
state of affairs with which Sir T. Shepstone had to deal, 
that I will give a short account of it 

After the Annexation had taken place, there were 
naturally enough a good many individuals who found 
themselves disappointed in the results so far as they 
personally were concerned ; I mean that they did not 
get so much out of it as they expected. Among these 
was a gentleman called Colonel Weatherley, who had 
come to the Transvaal as manager of a gold-mining 
company, but getting tired of that had taken a pro- 
minent part in the Annexation, and who, being subse- 
quently disappointed about an appointment, became a 
bitter enemy of the Administrator. I may say at once 
that Colonel Weatherley seems to me to have been 
throughout the dupe of the other conspirators. 

The next personage was a good-looking desperado, 
who called himself Captain Gunn of Gunn, and who 
was locally sopewhat irreverently known as the very 
Gunn of very Gunn. This gentleman, whose former 
career had been of a most remarkable order, was, on 
the annexation of the country, found in the public 
prison charged with having committed various offences, 
but on Colonel Weatherley's interesting himself strongly 
on his behalf, he was eventually released without trial. 
On his release, he requested the Administrator to pub- 


lish a Government notice declaring him innocent of the 
charges brought against him. This Sir. T. Shepstone 
declined to do, and so, to use his own words, in a des- 
patch to the High Commissioner on the subject, Captain 
Gunn of Gunn at once became " what in this country is 
called a patriot." 

The third person concerned was a lawyer, who had 
got into trouble on the Diamond Fields, and who felt 
himself injured because the rules of the High Court 
did not allow him to practise as an advocate. The 
quartette was made up by Mr. Celliers, the editor of the 
patriotic organ, the VolJcstem, who, since he had lost the 
Government printing contract, found that no language 
could be too strong to apply to the ^personnel of the 
Government, more especially its head. Of course, there 
was a lady in it ; what plot would be complete without? 
She was Mrs. Weatherley, now, I believe, Mrs. Gunn of 
Gunn. These gentlemen began operations by drawing 
up a long petition to Sir Bartle Frere as High Com- 
missioner, setting forth a string of supposed grievances, 
and winding up with a request that the Administrator 
might be " promoted to some other sphere of political 
usefulness." This memorial was forwarded by the 
"committee," as they called themselves, to various 
parts of the country for signature, but without the 
slightest success, the fact of the matter being that it 
was not the Annexor but the Annexation that the Boers 
objected to. 

At this stage in the proceedings Colonel Weatherley 
went to try and forward the good cause with Sir Bartle 
Frere at the Cape. His letters to Mrs. Weatherley 
from thence, afterwards put into Court in the celebrated 
divorce case, contained many interesting accounts of 


his attempts in that direction. I do not think, however, 
that he was cognisant of what was being concocted by 
his allies in Pretoria, but being a very vain, weak man, 
was easily deceived by them. With all his faults he 
was a gentleman. As soon as he was gone a second 
petition was drawn up by the " committee," showing 
"the advisability of immediately suspending our present 
Administrator, and temporarily appointing and recom- 
mending for Her Majesty's royal and favourable con- 
sideration an English gentleman of high integrity and 
honour, in whom the country at large has respect and 

The English gentleman of high integrity and honour 
of course proves to be Colonel Weatherley, whose 
appointment is, further on, " respectfully but earnestly 
requested," since he had " thoroughly gained the affec- 
tions, confidence, and respect of Boers, English, and 
other Europeans in this country." But whilst it is 
comparatively easy to write petitions, there is some- 
times a difficulty in getting people to sign them, as 
proved to be the case with reference to the documents 
under consideration. "When the " committee " and the 
employes in the office of the Volkstem had affixed 
their valuable signatures it was found to be impossible 
to induce anybody else to follow their example. Now, 
a petition witlk some half dozen signatures attached 
would not, it was obvious, carry much weight with the 
Imperial Government, and no more could be obtained. 

But really great minds rise superior to such difficul- 
ties, and so did the " committee," or some of them, or 
one of them. If they could not get genuine signatures 
to their petitions, they could at any rate manufacture 
fchem. This great idea once hit out, so vigorously was 


it prosecuted that they, or some of them, or one of 
them, produced in a very little while no less than 3883 
signatures, of which sixteen were proved to be genuine, 
five were doubtful, and all the rest fictitious. But the 
gentleman, whoever he was, who was the working part- 
ner in the scheme — and I may state, by way of paren- 
thesis, that when Gunn of Gunn was subsequently 
arrested, petitions in process of signature were found 
under the mattress of his bed — calculated without his 
host He either did not know, or had forgotten, that 
on receipt of such documents by a superior oflBcer, they 
are at once sent to the officer accused to report upon. 
This course was followed in the present case, and the 
petitions were discovered to be gross impostures. The 
ingenuity exercised by their author or authors was really 
very remarkable, for it must be remembered that not 
one of the signatures was forged; they were all invented, 
and had, of course, to be written in a great variety of 
hands. The plan generally pursued was to put down 
the names of people living in the country, with slight 
variations. Thus " De F"illiers " became " De IFilliers,** 
and " Van Zy\ " " Van Zu\" I remember that my own 
name appeared on one of the petitions with some slight 
alteration. Some of the names were evidently meant 
to be facetious. Thus there was a *' Jan Verneuker," 
which means " John the Cheat." 

Of the persons directly or indirectly concerned in this 
rascally plot, the unfortunate Colonel Weatherley sub- 
sequently apologised to Sir T. Shepstone for his share 
in the agitation, and shortly afterwards died fighting 
bravely on Kambula. Captain Gunn of Gunn and 
Mrs. Weatherley, after having given rise to the most 
remarkable divorce case I ever heard — it took fourteen 


days to try — were, on the death of Colonel Weatherley, 
united in the bonds of holy matrimony, and are, I 
believe, still in Pretoria. The lawyer vanished I know 
not where, whilst Mr. Celliers still continues to edit 
that admirably conducted journal the Volkstem; nor, 
if I may judge from the report of a speech made by 
him recently at a Boer festival, which, by the way, 
was graced by the presence of our representative, Mr. 
Hudson, the British Kesident, has his right hand for- 
gotten its cunning, or rather his tongue lost the use 
of those peculiar and rechercJU epithets that used to 
adorn the columns of the Volkstem. I see that he, 
on this occasion, denounced the English element as 
being " poisonous and dangerous " to a State, and 
stated, amidst loud cheers, that " he despised " it. Mr. 
Cellier's lines have fallen in pleasant places; in any 
other country he would long ago have fallen a victim 
to the stern laws of libel. I recommend him to the 
notice of enterprising Irish newspapers. Such is the 
freshness and vigour of his style that I am confident 
he would make the fortune of any Hibernian journal. 

Some little time after the Gunn of Gunn frauds a very 
sad incident happened in connection with the govern- 
ment of the Transvaal. Shortly after the Annexation, 
the Home Government sent out Mr. Sergeaunt, C.M.G., 
one of the Crown Agents for the Colonies, to report on 
the financial Condition of the country. He was accom- 
panied, in an unofficial capacity, amongst other gentle- 
men, by Captain Patterson and his son, Mr. J. Sergeaunt; 
and when he returned to England, these two gentlemen 
remained behind to go on a shooting expedition. About 
this time Sir Bartle Erere was anxious to send a friendly 
mission to Lo Bengula, king of the Matabele, a branch of 


the Zulu tribe, living up towards the Zambesi, This 
chief had been making himself unpleasant by causing 
traders to be robbed, and it was thought desirable to 
establish friendly relations with him, so it was suggested 
to Captain Patterson and Mr. Sergeaunt that they 
should combine business with pleasure, and go on a 
mission to Lo Bengula, an offer which they accepted, 
and shortly afterwards started for Matabeleland with 
an interpreter and a few servants. They reached their 
destination in safety ; and having concluded their busi- 
ness with the king, started on a visit to the Zambesi 
Falls on foot, leaving the interpreter with the waggon. 
The falls were about twelve days' walk from the king's 
kraal, and they were accompanied thither by young 
Mr. Thomas, the son of the local missionary, two Kafir 
servants, and twenty native bearers supplied by Lo 
Bengula. The next thing that was heard of them was 
that they had all died through drinking poisoned water, 
full details of the manner of their deaths being sent 
down by Lo Bengula. 

In the first shock and confusion of such news it was 
not very closely examined, at any rate by the friends 
of the dead men, but, on reflection, there were several 
things about it that appeared strange. For instance, it 
was well known that Captain Patterson had a habit, 
for which, indeed, we had often laughed at him, of, 
however thirsty he might be, always having his water 
boiled when he was travelling, in order to destroy 
impurities, and it seemed odd that he should on this 
one occasion ha^e neglected the precaution. Also, it 
was curious that the majority of Lo Bengula's bearers 
appeared to have escaped, whereas all the others were, 
without exception, killed ; nor even in that district is 


It usual to find water so bad that it will kill with 
the rapidity it had been supposed to do in this case, 
unless indeed it had been designedly poisoned. These 
doubts of the poisoning-by-bad-water-story resolved 
themselves into certainty when the waggon returned 
in charge of the interpreter, when, by putting two and 
two together, we were able to piece out the real history 
of the diabolical murder of our poor friends with con- 
siderable accuracy, a story which shows what blood- 
thirsty wickedness a savage is capable of when he 
fancies his interests are threatened. 

It appeared that, when Captain Patterson first inter- 
viewed Lo Bengula, he was not at all well received by 
him. I must, by way of explanation, state that there 
exists a pretender to his throne, Kruman by name, 
who, as far as I can make out, is the real heir to the 
kingdom. This man had, for some cause or other, fled 
the country, and for a time acted as gardener to Sir T. 
Shepstone in Natal. At the date of Messrs. Patterson 
and Sergeaunt's mission to Matabeleland he was living, 
I believe, in the Transvaal. Captain Patterson, on 
finding himself so ill received by the king, and not 
being sufficiently acquainted with the character of 
savage chiefs, most unfortunately, either by accident or 
design, dropped some hint in the course of conversation 
about this Kruman. From that moment Lo Bengula'a 
conduct towards the mission entirely changed, and, 
dropping his former tone, he became profusely civil; 
and from that moment, too, he doubtless determined 
to km them, probably fearing that they might forward 
some scheme to oust him and place Kruman, on whose 
claim a large portion of his people looked favourably, 
on the throne. 


When their business was done, and Captain Patter- 
son told the king that they were anxious, before 
returning, to visit the Zambesi Falls, he readily fell 
in with their wish, but, in the first instance, refused 
permission to young Thomas, the son of the missionary, 
to accompany them, only allowing him to do so on the 
!irgent representations of Captain Patterson. The reason 
of this was, no doubt, that he had kindly feelings 
towards the lad, and did not wish to include him in 
the slaughter. 

Captain Patterson was a man of extremely methodical 
habits, and, amongst other things, was in the habit of 
making notes of all that he did. His note-book had 
been taken off his body, and sent down to Pretoria 
with the other things. In it we found entries of his 
preparations for the trip, including the number and 
names of the bearers provided by Lo Bengula. We 
also found the chronicle of the first three days* journey, 
and that of the morning of the fourth day, but there 
the record stopped. The last entry was probably made 
a few minutes before he was killed; and it is to be 
observed that there was no entry of the party having 
been for several days without water, as stated by the 
messengers, and then finding the poisoned water. 

This evidence by itself would not have amounted to 
much, but now comes the curious part of the story, 
showing the truth of the old adage, " Murder will out." 
It appears that when the waggon was coming down to 
Pretoria in charge of the interpreter, it was outspanned 
one day outside the borders of Lo Bengula's country, 
when some Kafirs — Bechuanas, I think — came up, 
asked for some tobacco, and fell into conversation with 
the driver, remarking that he had come up with a full 


waggon, and now he went down with an empty one. 
The driver replied by lamenting the death by poisoned 
water of his masters, whereupon one of the Kafirs told 
him the following story : — He said that a brother of his 
was out hunting, a little while back, in the desert for 
ostriches, with a party of other Kafirs, when hearing 
shots fired some way off, they made for the spot, 
thinking that white men were out shooting, and that 
they would be able to beg meat. On reaching the 
spot, which was by a pool of water, they saw the bodies 
of three white men lying on the ground, and also those 
of a Hottentot and a Kafir, surrounded by an armed 
party of Kafirs. They at once asked the Kafirs what 
they had been doing killing the white men, and were 
told to be still, for it was by " order of the king." They 
then learned the whole story. It appeared that the 
white men had made a mid-day halt by the water, when 
one of the bearers, who had gone to the edge of the 
pool, suddenly shouted to them to come and look at a 
great snake in the water. Captain Patterson ran up, 
and, as he leaned over the edge, was instantly killed by 
a blow with an axe; the others were then shot and 
assegaied. The Kafir further described the clothes 
that his brother had seen on the bodies, and also some 
articles that had been given to his party by the mur- 
derers, that .left little doubt as to the veracity of his 
story. And so ended the mission to Matabeleland. 

No public notice was taken of the matter, for the 
obvious reason that it was impossible to get at Lo Ben- 
gula to punish him ; nor would it have been easy to 
come by legal evidence to disprove the ingenious story 
of the poisoned water, since anybody trying to reach 
the spot of the massacre would probably fall a victim 


to some similar accident before he got back again. It 
is devoutly to be hoped that the punishment he deserves 
will sooner or later overtake the author of this devilish 
and wholesale murder. 

The beginning of 1879 was signalised by the com- 
mencement of operations in Zululand and by the news 
of the terrible disaster at Isandhlwana, which fell on 
Pretoria like a thunderclap. It was not, however, 0^7 
surprise to those who were acquainted with Zulu tactics 
and with the plan of attack adopted by the English 
commanders. In fact, I know that one solemn warning 
of what would certainly happen to him if he persisted 
in his plan of advance was addressed to Lord Chelms- 
ford, through the officer in command at Pretoria, by a 
gentleman whose position and long experience of the 
Zulus and their mode of attack should have carried 
some weight. If it ever reached him, he took, to the 
best of my recollection, no notice of it whatever. 

But though some such disaster was daily expected by 
a few, the majority both of soldiers and civilians never 
dreamed of anything of the sort, the general idea being 
that the conquest of Cetywayo was a very easy under- 
taking ; and the shock produced by the news of Isandhl- 
wana was proportionately great, especially as it reached 
Pretoria in a much exaggerated form. I shall never 
forget the appearance of the town that morning ; busi- 
ness was entirely suspended, and the streets were filled 
with knots of men talking, with scared faces, as well 
they might : for there was scarcely anybody but had 
lost a friend, and many thought that their sons or 
brothers were among the dead on that bloody field. 
Among others, Sir T. Shepstone lost one son, and 
thought for some time that he had lost threa 


Shortly after this event Sir Theophilus went to Eng- 
land to confer with the Secretary of State on various 
matters connected with the Transvaal, carrying with 
him the affection and respect of aU who knew him, not 
excepting the majority of the malcontent Boers. He 
was succeeded by Colonel, now Sir Owen Lanyon, who 
was appointed to administer the G-overnment during 
the absence of Sir T. Shepstone. 

By the Boers, however, the news of our disaster 
was received with great and unconcealed rejoicing, or 
at least by the irreconcilable portion of that people. 
England's necessity was their opportunity, and one 
of which they certainly meant to avail themselves. 
Accordingly, notices were sent out summoning the 
burghers of the Transvaal to attend a mass meeting 
on the 1 8th March, at a place about thirty miles from 
Pretoria. Emissaries were also sent to native chiefs, 
to excite them to follow Cetywayo's example, and 
massacre all the English within reach, of whom a man 
called Solomon Prinsloo was one of the most active 
The natives, however, notwithstanding the threats used 
towards them, one and all declined the invitation. 

It must not be supposed that all the Boers who 
attended these meetings did so of their own free will ; 
on the contrary, a very large number came under com- 
pulsion, since th^y found that the English authorities 
were powerless to give them protection. The recal- 
citrants were threatened with all sorts of pains and 
penalties if they did not attend, a favourite menace 
being that they should be made "biltong" of when 
the country was given back (i.e., be cut into strips 
and hung in the sun to dry). Few, luckily for them- 
selves, were brave enough to tempt fortune by refusing 


to come, but those who did have had to leave the 
country since the war. Whatever were the means 
employed, the result was an armed meeting of about 
3000 Boers, who evidently meant mischief. 

Just about this time a corps had been raised in Pre- 
toria, composed, for the most part, of gentlemen, and 
known as the Pretoria Horse, for the purpose of pro- 
ceeding to the Zulu border, where cavalry, especially 
cavalry acquainted with the country, was earnestly 
needed. In the emergency of the times officials were 
allowed to join this corps, a permission of which I 
availed myself, and was elected one of the lieutenants.^ 
The corps was not, after all, allowed to go to Zululand 
on account of the threatening aspect adopted by the 
Boers, against whom it was retained for service. In 
my capacity as an officer of the corps I was sent out 
with a small body of picked men, all good riders and 
light weights, to keep up a constant communication 
between the Boer camp and the Administrator, and 
found the work both interesting and exciting. My 
headquarters were at an inn about twenty-five miles 
from Pretoria, to which our agents in the meeting used 
to come every evening and report how matters were 
proceeding, whereupon, if the road was clear, I des- 
patched a letter to headquarters ; or, if I feared that 
the messengers would be caught en route by Boer patrols 
and searched, I substituted different coloured ribbons 
according to what I wished to convey. There was a 
relief hidden in the trees or rocks every six miles, all 

* It is customary in South African volunteer forces to allow the 
members to elect their own officers, provided the men elected are such 
as the Government approves. This is done, so that the corps may not 
afterwards be able to declare that they have no confidence in their 
offioen in action, or to grumble at their treatment by them. 


day and most of the night, whose business it was to 
take the despatch or ribbon and gallop on with it to the 
next station, in which way we used to get the despatches 
into town in about an hour and a quarter. 

On one or two occasions the Boers came to the inn 
and threatened to shoot us, but as our orders were to do 
nothing unless our lives were actually in danger, we 
took no notice. The officer who came out to relieve 
me had not, however, been there more than a day or 
two before he and all his troopers were hunted back 
into Pretoria by a large mob of armed Boers whom they 
only escaped by very hard riding. 

Meanwhile the Boers were by degrees drawing nearer 
and nearer to the town, till at last they pitched their 
laagers within six miles, and practically besieged it. 
All business was stopped, the houses were loopholed 
and fortified, and advantageous positions were occupied 
by the military and the various volunteer corps. The 
building, normally in the occupation of the Government 
mules, fell to the lot of the Pretoria Horse, and, though 
it was undoubtedly a post of honour, I honestly declare 
that I have no wish to sleep for another month in a 
mule stable that has not been cleaned out for several 
years. However, by sinking a well, and erecting bas- 
tions and a staging for sharpshooters, we converted it 
into an excellent fortress, though it would not have 
been of much use against artillery. Our patrols used 
to be out all night, since we chiefly feared a night 
attack, and generally every preparation was made to 
resist the onset that was hourly expected, and I believe 
that it was that state of preparedness that alone pre- 
vented it. 

Whilst this meeting was going on, and when matters 


had come to a point that seemed to render war inevi- 
table, Sir Bartle Frere arrived at Pretoria and had several 
interviews with the Boer leaders, at which they persisted 
in demanding their independence, and nothing short of 
it. After a great deal of talk the meeting finally broke 
up without any actual appeal to arms, though it had, 
during its continuance, assumed many of the rights of 
government, such as stopping post-carts and individuals, 
and sending armed patrols about the country. The 
principal reason of its break-up was that the Zulu war 
was now drawing to a close, and the leaders saw that 
there would soon be plenty of troops available to sup- 
press any attempt at revolt, but they also saw to what 
lengths they could go with impunity. They had for a 
period of nearly two months been allowed to throw the 
whole country into confusion, to openly violate the 
laws, and to intimidate and threaten Her Majesty's 
loyal subjects with war and death. The lesson was not 
lost on them ; but they postponed action till a more 
favourable opportunity offered. 

Sir Bartle Frere before his departure took an oppor- 
tunity at a public dinner given him at Potchefstroom 
of assuring the loyal inhabitants of the country that 
the Transvaal would never be given back. 

Meanwhile a new Pharaoh had arisen in Egypt, in 
the shape of Sir Garnet Wolseley, and on the 29th 
June 1879 we find him communicating the fact to Sir 
0. Lanyon in very plain language, telling him that he 
disapproved of his course of action with regard to 
Secocceni, and that "in future you will please take 
orders only from me." 

As soon as Sir Garnet had completed his arrange- 
ments for the pacification of Zuluiand, he proceeded 


to Pretoria, and having caused himself to be sworn in 
as Governor, set vigorously to work. I must say that 
in his dealings with the Transvaal he showed great 
judgment and a keen appreciation of what the country 
needed, namely, strong government; the fact of the 
matter being, I suppose, that being very popular with 
the Home authorities he felt that he could more or less 
command their support in what he did, a satisfaction 
not given to most governors, who never know but that 
they may be thrown overboard in emergency to lighten 
the ship. 

One of his first acts was to issue a proclamation, 
Btating that, "Whereas it appears that, notwithstand- 
ing repeated assurances of contrary effect given by Her 
Majesty's representatives in this territory, uncertainty or 
misapprehension exists amongst some of Her Majesty's 
subjects as to the intention of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment regardinor the maintenance of British rule and 
sovereignty over the territory of the Transvaal; and 
whereas it is expedient that all grounds for such uncer- 
tainty or misapprehension should be removed once and 
for all beyond doubt or question ; now therefore I do 
hereby proclaim and make known, in the name and on 
behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, that it is the will 
and determination of Her Majesty's Government that 
this Transvaal territory shall be, and shall continue to he 
for ever, an integral portion of Her Majesty's dominions 
in South Africa." 

Alas ! Sir G. Wolseley's estimate of the value of a 
solemn pledge thus made in the name of Her Majesty, 
whose word has hitherto been held to be sacred, differed 
greatly to that of Mr. Gladstone and his Government. 

Sir Garnet Wolseley's operations against Secocceni 


proved eminently successful, and were the best arranged 
bit of native warfare that I have yet heard of in South 
Africa. One blow was struck, and only one, but that 
was crushing. Of course the secret of his success lay 
in the fact that he had an abundance of force ; but it 
was not ensured by that alone, good management being 
very requisite in an affair of the sort, especially where 
native allies have to be dealt with. The cost of the 
expedition, not counting other Secocoeni war expendi- 
ture, amounted to over ;t300,0CX), all of which is now 
lost to this country. 

Another step in the right direction undertaken by 
Sir Garnet was the establishment of an Executive 
Council and also of a Legislative Council, for the 
establishment of which Letters Patent were sent from 
Downing Street in November 1880. 

Meanwhile the Boers, paying no attention to the 
latter proclamation, for they guessed that it, like other 
proclamations in the Transvaal, would be a mere hru- 
tum fulmen, had assembled for another mass meeting, 
at which they went forward a step, and declared a 
Government which was to treat with the English 
authorities. They had now learnt that they could 
do what they liked with perfect impunity, provided 
they did not take the extreme course of massacring 
the English. They had yet to learn that they might 
even do that. At the termination of this meeting, a 
vote of thanks was passed to "Mr. Leonard Courtney 
of London, and other members of the British Parlia- 
ment." It was wise of the Boer leaders to cultivate 
Mr. Courtney of London. As a result of this meeting, 
Pretorius, one of the principal leaders, and Bok, the 
secretary, were arrested on a charge of treason, and 


anderwent a preliminary examination; but as the 
Secretary of State, Sir M. Hicks Beach, looked rather 
timidly on the proceeding, and the local authorities 
were doubtful of securing a verdict, the prosecution 
was abandoned, and necessarily did more harm than 
good, being looked upon as another proof of the im- 
potence of the Government. 

Shortly afterwards. Sir G. Wolseley changed his 
tactics, and, instead of attempting to imprison Pre- 
torius, offered him a seat on the Executive Council, 
with a salary attached. This was a much more 
sensible way of dealing with him, and he at once 
rose to the bait, stating his willingness to join the 
Government after a while, but that he could not 
publicly do so at the moment lest he should lose his 
influence with those who were to be brought round 
through him. It does not, however, appear that Mr. 
Pretorius ever did actually join the Executive, probably 
because he found public opinion too strong to allow 
him to do so. 

In December 1879 a new light broke upon the Boers, 
for in the previous month Mr. Gladstone had been 
delivering his noted attack on the policy of the Con- 
servative Government. Those Mid-Lothian speeches 
did harm, it is said, in many parts of the world ; but 
I venture to think that they have proved more mis- 
chievous in South Africa than anywhere else; at any 
rate, they have borne fruit sooner. It is not to be 
supposed that Mr. Gladstone really cared anything 
about the Transvaal or its independence when he was 
denouncing the hideous outrage that had been perpe- 
trated by the Conservative Government in annexing 
it. On the contrary, as he acquiesced in the Annexa- 


tion at the time (when Lord Kimberley stated that 
it was evidently unavoidable), and declined to rescind 
it when he came into power, it is to be supposed that 
he really approved of it, or at the least looked on it as 
a necessary eviL However this may be, any stick will 
do to beat a dog with, and the Transvaal was a con- 
venient point on which to attack the Government. He 
probably neither knew nor cared what effect his reckless 
words might have on ignorant Boers thousands of miles 
away ; and yet, humanly speaking, many a man would 
have been alive and strong to-day whose bones now 
whiten the African Veldt had those words never been 
spoken. Then, for the first time, the Boers learnt that, 
if they played their cards properly and put on sufficient 
pressure, they would, in the event of the Liberal party 
coming to office, have little difficulty in coercing it as 
they wished. 

There was a fair chance at the time of the utterance 
of the Mid-Lothian speeches that the agitation would, 
by degrees, die away ; Sir G. Wolseley had succeeded 
in winning over Pretorius, and the Boers in general 
were sick of mass meetings. Indeed, a memorial was 
addressed to Sir. G. Wolseley by a number of Boers in 
the Potchefstroom district, protesting against the main- 
tenance of the movement against Her Majesty's rule, 
which, considering the great amount of intimidation 
exercised by the malcontents, may be looked upon as 
a favourable sign. 

But when it slowly came to be understood among 
the Boers that a great English Minister had openly 
espoused their cause, and that he would perhaps soon 
be all-powerful, the moral gain to them was incal- 
culable. They could now go to the doubting ones and 


Bay, — we must be right about the matter, because, 
putting our own feelings out of the question, the great 
Gladstone says we are. We find the committee of the 
Boer malcontents, at their meeting in March 1880, 
reading a letter to Mr. Gladstone, "in which he was 
thanked for the great sympathy shown in their fate," 
and a hope expressed that, if he succeeded in getting 
power, he would not forget them. In fact, a charming 
unanimity prevailed between our great Minister and 
the Boer rebels, for their interests were the same, the 
overthrow of the Conservative Government. If, how- 
ever, every leader of the Opposition were to intrigue 
or countenance intrigues with those who are seeking 
to undermine the authority of Her Majesty, whether 
they be Boers or Irishmen, in order to help himself to 
power, the country might suffer in the long run. 

But whatever feelings may have prompted Her 
Majesty's Opposition, the Home Government, and their 
agent, Sir Garnet Wolseley, blew no uncertain blast, if 
we may judge from their words and actions. Thus we 
find Sir Garnet speaking as follows at a banquet given 
in his honour at Pretoria : — 

"I am told that these men (the Boers) are told to 
keep on agitating in this way, for a change of Govern- 
ment in England may give them again the old order 
of things. Nothing can show greater ignorance of 
English politics than such an idea; I tell you that 
there is no Government, Whig or Tory, Liberal, Con- 
servative, or Kadical, who would dare under any drcumr 
stances to give hack this country. They would not dare, 
because the English people would not allow them. To 
give back the country, what would it mean ? To give 
it back to external danger, to the danger of attack bj 


hostile tribes on its frontier, and who, if the English 
Government were removed for one day, would make 
themselves felt the next. Not an official of Government 
paid for months ; it would mean national bankruptcy. 
JSTo taxes being paid, the same thing recurring again 
which had existed before would mean danger without, 
anarchy and civil war within, every possible misery; 
the strangulation of trade, and the destruction of 

It is very amusing to read this passage by the 
light of after events. On other occasions Sir Garnet 
Wolseley will probably not be quite so confident as 
to the future when it is to be controlled by a Radical 

This explicit and straightforward statement of Sir 
Garnet's produced a great effect on the loyal inhabitants 
of the Transvaal, which was heightened by the publica- 
tion of the following telegram from the Secretary of 
State: — "You may fully confirm explicit statements 
made from time to time as to inability of Her Majesty's 
Government to entertain any proposal for withdrawal 
of the Queen's sovereignty." 

On the faith of these declarations many Englishmen 
migrated to the Transvaal and settled there, whilst 
those who were in the country now invested all their 
means, being confident that they would not lose their 
property through its being returned to the Boers, The 
excitement produced by Mr. Gladstone's speeches began 
to quiet down and be forgotten for the time, arrear 
taxes were paid up by the malcontents, and generally 
the aspect of affairs was such, in Sir Garnet Wolseley's 
opinion, as justified him in writing, in April 1880, to 
the Secretary of State expressing his belief that the 


agitation was dying out^ Indeed, so sanguine was he 
on that point that he is reported to have advised the 
withdrawal of the cavalry regiment stationed in the 
territory, a piece of economy that was one of the 
immediate causes of the revolt. 

The reader will remember the financial condition of 
the country at the time of the Annexation, which was 
one of utter bankruptcy. After three years of British 
rule, however, we find, notwithstanding the constant 
agitation that had been kept up, that the total revenue 
receipts for the first quarter of 1879 and 1880 amounted 
to ;^ 22,773 ^^^ ;^47»9S2 respectively. That is to say, 
that, during the last year of British rule, the revenue of 
the country more than doubled itself, and amounted to 

* In Blue-Book No. (0. 2866) of September 1881, which is descrip- 
tive of various events connected with the Boer rising, is published, as 
an appendix, a despatch from Sir Garnet Wolseley, dated October 1879. 
This despatch declares the writer's opinion that the Boer discontent ia 
on the increase. Its publication thus — apropos des holUs — nearly two 
years after it was written, is rather an amusing incident. It certainly 
gives one the idea that Sir Garnet Wolseley, fearing that his reputation 
for infallibility might be attacked by scoffers for not having foreseen 
the Boer rebellion, and perhaps uneasily conscious of other despatches 
very different in tenor and subsequent in date : and, mindful of the 
withdrawal of the cavalry regiment by his advice, had caused it to be 
tacked on to the Blue-Book as a documentary "I told you so," and a 
proof that, whoever else was blinded, he foresaw. It contains, how- 
ever, the following remarkably true passage : — " Even were it not im- 
possible, for many other reasons, to contemplate a withdrawal of our 
authority from the Transvaal, the position of insecurity in which we 
should leave this loyal and important section of the community (the 
English inhabitants), by exposing them to the certain retaliation of 
the Boers, would constitute, in my opinion, an insuperable obstacle to 
retrocession. Subjected to the same danger, moreover, would be those 
of the Boers, whose superior intelligence and courageous character has 
rendered them loyal to our Government." 

As the Government took the trouble to republish the despatch, it ii 
a pity that they did not think fit to pay more attention to it* content*. 


about jf 1 60,000 a-year, taking the quarterly returns at 
the low average of ^g" 40,000. It must, however, be re- 
membered that this sum would have been very largely 
increased in subsequent years, most probably doubled. 
At any rate the revenue would have been amply suffi- 
cient to make the province one of the most prosperous 
in South Africa, and to have enabled it to shortly repay 
all debts due to the British Government, and further to 
provide for its own defence. Trade also, which, in April 
1877, W3.S completely paralysed, had increased enor- 
mously. So early as the middle of 1879, the Com- 
mittee of the Transvaal Chamber of Commerce pointed 
out, in a resolution adopted by them, that the trade of 
the country had in two years risen from almost nothing 
to the considerable sum of two millions sterling per 
annum, and that it was entirely in the hands of those 
favourable to British rule. They also pointed out that 
more than half the land-tax was paid by Englishmen, 
or other Europeans adverse to Boer Government. Land, 
too, had risen greatly in value, of which I can give the 
following instance. About a year after the Annexation 
I, together with a friend, bought a little property on the 
outskirts of Pretoria, which, with a cottage we put up 
on it, cost some ^^300. Just before the rebellion we 
fortunately determined to sell it, and had no difficulty 
in getting ^^ 6 50 for it. I do not believe that it would 
now fetch a fifty-pound note. 

I cannot conclude this chapter better than by draw- 
ing attention to a charming specimen of the correspond- 
ence between the Boer leaders and their friend Mr. 
Courtney. The letter in question, which is dated 26th 
June, purports to be written by Messrs. Kjuger and 
Joubert, but it is obvious that it owes its origin to some 


member or members of the Dutch party at the Cape, 
from whence, indeed, it is written. This is rendered 
evident both by its general style, and also by the use of 
such terms as " Satrap,** and by references to Napoleon 
III. and Cayenne, about whom Messrs. Kruger and 
Joubert know no more than they do of Peru and the 

After alluding to former letters, the writers bbw a 
blast of triumph over the downfall of the Conservative 
Government, and then make a savage attack on the 
reputation of Sir Bartle Frere. The " stubborn Satrap ** 
is throughout described as a liar, and every bad motive 
imputed to him. Eeally, the fact that Mr, Courtney 
should encourage such epistles as this is enough to give 
colour to the boast made by some of the leading Boers, 
after the war, that they had been encouraged to rebel 
by a member of the British Government. 

At the end of this letter, and on the same page of 
the Blue- Book, is printed the telegram recalling Sir 
Bartle Frere, dated ist August 1880. It really reads 
as though the second document was consequent on the 
first. One thing is very clear, the feelings of Her 
Majesty's new Government towards Sir Bartle Frere 
differed only in the method of their expression from 
those set forth by the Boer leaders in their letter to 
Mr. Courtney, whilst their object, namely, to be rid 
of him, was undoubtedly identical with that of the 
Dutch party in South Africa. 



When the Liberal ministry became an accomplished 
fact instead of a happy possibility, Mr. Gladstone did 
not find it convenient to adopt the line of policy with 
reference to the Transvaal that might have been ex- 
pected from his utterances whilst leader of the Opposi- 
tion. On the contrary, he declared in Parliament that the 
Annexation could not be cancelled, and on the 8th June 
1880 we find him, in answer to a Boer petition, written 
with the object of inducing him to act up to the spirit 
of his words and rescind the Annexation, writing thus : 
— " Looking to all the circumstances, both of the Trans- 
vaal and the rest of South Africa, and to the necessity 
of preventing a renewal of disorders which might lead 
to disastrous consequences, not only to the Transvaal, 
but to the whole of South Africa, our judgment is, that 
the Qtceen cannot he advised to relinquish her sovereignty 
over the Transvaal ; but, consistently with the mainten- 
ance of that sovereignty, we desire that the white in- 
habitants of the Transvaal should, without prejudice to 
the rest of the population, enjoy the fullest liberty to 
manage their local affairs. We believe that this liberty 
may be most easily and promptly conceded to the Trans- 
vaal as a member of a South African confederation." 


Unless words have lost their signification, this pas- 
sage certainly means that the Transvaal must remain a 
British colony, but that England will be prepared to 
grant it responsible government, more especially if it 
will consent to a confederation scheme. Mr. Gladstone, 
however, in a communication dated ist June 1881, and 
addressed to the unfortunate Transvaal loyals, for whom 
he expresses "respect and sympathy," interprets his 
meaning thus: **It is stated, as I observe, that a promise 
was given by me that the Transvaal never should be 
given back. There is no mention of the terms or date 
of this promise. If the reference be to my letter, of 
8th June 1880, to Messrs. Kruger and Joubert, I do 
not think the language of that letter justifies the de- 
scription given. Nor am I sure in what manner or to 
what degree the fullest liberty to manage their local 
affairs, which I then said Her Majesty's Government 
desired to confer on the white population of the Trans- 
vaal, differs from the settlement now about being made 
in its bearing on the interests of those whom your 
Committee represents." 

Such twisting of the meaning of words would, in a 
private person, be called dishonest. It will also occur 
to most people that Mr. Gladstone might have spared 
the deeply \vronged and loyal subjects of Her Majesty 
whom he was addressing the taunt he levels at them 
in the second paragraph I have quoted. If asked, he 
would no doubt say that he had not the slightest inten- 
tion of laughing at them; but when he deliberately 
tells them that it makes no difference to their interests 
whether they remain Her Majesty's subjects under a 
responsible Government, or become the servants of men 
who were but lately in arms against them and Hex 


Majesty's authority, he is either mocking them, or offer- 
ing an insult to their understandings. 

By way of comment on his remarks, I may add that 
he had, in a letter replying to a petition from these 
same loyal inhabitants, addressed to him in May 1880, 
informed them that he had already told the Boer repre- 
sentatives that the Annexation could not be rescinded. 
Although Mr. Gladstone is undoubtedly the greatest 
living master of the art of getting two distinct and 
opposite sets of meanings out of one set of words, it 
would try even his ingenuity to make out, to the satis- 
faction of an impartial mind, that he never gave any 
pledge about the retention of the Transvaal 

Indeed, it is from other considerations clear that he 
had no intention of giving up the country to the Boers, 
whose cause he appears to have taken up solely for 
electioneering purposes. Had he meant to do so, he 
would have carried out his intention on succeeding 
to office, and, indeed, as things have turned out, it is 
deeply to be regretted that he did not ; for, bad as such 
a step would have been, it would at any rate have had 
a better appearance than our ultimate surrender after 
three defeats. It would also have then been possible 
to secure the repayment of some of the money owing to 
this country, and to provide for the proper treatment of 
the natives, and the compensation of the loyal inhabi- 
tants who could no longer live there: since it must 
naturally have been easier to make terms with the 
Boers before they had defeated our troops. 

On the other hand, we should have missed the grandest 
and most soul-stirring display of radical theories, prac- 
tically applied, that has as yet lightened the darkness 
of this country. But although Mr. Gladstone gave his 


official decision against returning the country, there 
seems to be little doubt that communications on the 
subject were kept up with the Boer leaders through 
some prominent members of the Eadical party, who, 
it was said, went so far as to urge the Boers to take 
up arms against us. When Mr. White came to this 
country on behalf of the loyalists, after the surrender, 
he stated that this was so at a public meeting, and said 
further that he had in his possession proofs of his state- 
ments. He even went so far as to name the gentleman 
he accused, and to challenge him to deny it I have 
not been able to gather that Mr. White's statements 
were contradicted. 

However this may be, after a pause, agitation in the 
Transvaal suddenly recommenced with redoubled vigour. 
It began through a man named Bezeidenhout, who re- 
fused to pay his taxes. Thereupon a waggon was seized 
in execution under the authority of the court and put 
up to auction, but its sale was prevented by a crowd of 
rebel Boers, who kicked the auctioneer off the waggon 
and dragged the vehicle away. This was on the nth 
November 1880. When this intelligence reached Pre- 
toria, Sir Owen Lanyon sent down a few companies of 
the 2 1st Eegiment, under the command of Major Thorn- 
hill, to support the Landdrost in arresting the rioters, 
and appointed Captain Eaaf, C.M.G., to act as special 
messenger to the Landdrost's Court at Potchefstroom, 
with authority to enrol special constables to assist him 
to carry out the arrests. On arrival at Potchefstroom 
Captain Eaaf found that, without an armed force, it 
was quite impossible to effect any arrest. On the 26th 
November Sir Owen Lanyon, realising the gravity of 
the situation, telegraphed to Sir George CoUey, asking 


that the 58th Regiment should be sent back to the 
TransvaaL Sir George replied that he could ill spare 
it on account of " daily expected outbreak of Pondos 
and possible appeal for help from Cape Colony," and 
that the Government must be supported by the loyal 

It will be seen that the Boers had, with some 
astuteness, chosen a very favourable time to com- 
mence operations. The hands of the Cape Government 
were full with the Basuto war, so no help could be 
expected from it ; Sir G. Wolseley had sent away the 
only cavalry regiment that remained in the country, 
and lastly. Sir Owen Lanyon had quite recently 
allowed a body of 300 trained volunteers, mostly, if 
not altogether, drawn from among the loyalists, to be 
raised for service in the Basuto war, a serious drain 
upon the resources of a country so sparsely populated 
as the Transvaal. 

Meanwhile a mass meeting had been convened by 
the Boers for the 8th January to consider Mr. Glad- 
stone's letter, but the Bezeidenhout incident had the 
effect of putting forward the date of assembly by a 
month, and it was announced that it would be held 
on the 8 th December. Subsequently the date was 
shifted to the 15 th, and then back again to the 8 th. 
Every effort was made, by threats of future vengeance, 
to secure the presence of as many burghers as pos- 
sible ; attempts were also made to persuade the native 
chiefs to send representatives, and to promise to join 
in an attack on the English. These entirely failed. 
The meeting was held at a place called Paarde Kraal, 
and resulted in the sudden declaration of the Repub- 
lic and the appointment of the famous triumvirate 


Kruger, Joubert, and Pretorius. It then moved into 
Heidelberg, a little town about sixty miles from Pre- 
toria, and on the i6th December the Eepublic was 
formally proclaimed in a long proclamation, contain- 
ing a summary of the events of the few preceding 
years, and declaring the arrangements the malcontents 
were willing to make with the English authorities. 
The terms offered in this document are almost iden- 
tical with those finally accepted by Her Majesty's 
Government, with the exception that in the procla- 
mation of the 1 6th December the Boer leaders declare 
their willingness to enter into confederation, and to 
guide their native policy by general rules adopted in 
concurrence "with the Colonies and States of South 
Africa." This was a more liberal offer than that which 
we ultimately agreed to, but then the circumstances 
had changed. 

This proclamation was forwarded to Sir Owen 
Lanyon with a covering letter, in which the follow- 
ing words occur : — " We declare in the most solemn 
manner that we have no desire to spill blood, and 
that from our side we do not wish war. It lies in your 
hands to force us to appeal to arms in self-defence. 
. . . We expect your answer within twice twenty- 
four hours." 

I beg to direct particular attention to these para- 
graphs, as they have a considerable interest in view 
of what followed. 

The letter and proclamation reached Government 
House, Pretoria, at ID. 30 on the evening of Friday 
the 17th December. Sir Owen Lanyon's proclama- 
tion, written in reply, was handed to the messenger 
ai noon on Sunday, 19th December, or within about 


thirty-six hours of his arrival, and could hardly have 
reached the rebel camp, sixty miles off, before dawn 
the next day, the 20th December, on which day, at 
about one o'clock, a detachment of the 94th was 
ambushed and destroyed on the road between Middle- 
burg and Pretoria, about eighty miles off, by a force 
despatched from Heidelberg for that purpose some 
days before. On the 1 6th December, or the same day 
on which the Triumvirate had despatched the pro- 
clamation to Pretoria containing their terms, and ex- 
pressing in the most solemn manner that they had no 
desire to shed blood, a large Boer force was attacking 

So much then for the sincerity of the professions 
of their desire to avoid bloodshed. 

The proclamation sent by Sir 0. Lanyon in reply 
recited in its preamble the various acts of which the 
rebels had been guilty, including that of having 
" wickedly sought to incite the said loyal native 
inhabitants throughout the province to take up arms 
against Her Majesty's Government," announced that 
matters had now been put into the hands of the 
officer commanding Her Majesty's troops, and pro- 
mised pardon to all who would disperse to their 

It was at Potchefstroom, which town had all along 
been the nursery of the rebellion, that actual hostili- 
ties first broke out Potchefstroom as a town is much 
more Boer in its sympathies than Pretoria, which is, 
or rather was, almost purely English. Sir Owen 
Lanyon had, as stated before, sent a small body of 
soldiers thither to support the civil authorities, and 
had also appointed Major Clarke, C.M.G., an officet 


of noted coolness and ability, to act as Special Com- 
missioner for the district. 

Major Clarke's first step was to try, in conjunction 
with Captain Eaaf, to raise a corps of volunteers, in 
which he totally failed. Those of the townsfolk who 
were not Boers at heart had too many business 
relations with the surrounding farmers, and perhaps 
too little faith in the stability of English rule after 
Mr. Gladstone's utterances, to allow them to indulge 
in patriotisuL At the time of the outbreak, between 
seventy and eighty thousand sterling was owing to 
firms in Potchefstroom by neighbouring Boers, a sum 
amply sufiScient to account for their lukewarmness in 
the English cause. Subsequent events have shown 
that the Potchefstroom shopkeepers were wise in their 

On the 15 th December a large number of Boers 
came into the town and took possession of the print- 
ing-office in order to print the proclamation already 
alluded to. Major Clarke made two attempts to enter 
the office and see the leaders, but without success. 

On the 1 6th a Boer patrol fired on some of the 
mounted infantry, and the fire was returned. These 
were the first shots fired during the war, and they 
were fired by Boers. Orders were thereupon signalled 
to Clarke by Lieutenant- Colonel Winsloe, 21st Eegi- 
ment, now commanding at the fort which he afterwards 
defended so gallantly, that he was to commence firing. 
Clarke was in the Landdrost's office on the Market 
Square with a force of about twenty soldiers under 
Captain Falls and twenty civilians under Captain 
Eaaf, C.M.G., a position but ill-suited for defensive 
purposes, from whence fire was accordingly opened, 


the Boers taking up positions in the surrounding 
houses commanding the office. Shortly after the com- 
mencement of the fighting, Captain Falls was shot 
dead whilst talking to Major Clarke, the latter having 
a narrow escape, a bullet grazing his head just above 
the ear. The fighting continued during the 17th and 
till the morning of the i8th, when the Boers suc- 
ceeded in firing the roof, which was of thatch, by 
throwing fire-balls on to it. Major Clarke then ad- 
dressed the men, telling them that, though personally 
he did not care about his own life, he did not see that 
they could serve any useful purpose by being burned 
alive, so he should surrender, which he did, with a loss 
of about six killed and wounded. The camp meanwhile 
had repulsed with loss the attack made on it, and was 
never again directly attacked. 

Whilst these events were in progress at Potchef- 
stroom, a much more awful tragedy was in preparation 
on the road between Middleburg and Pretoria. 

On the 23d November, Colonel Bellairs, at the 
request of Sir Owen Lanyon, directed a concentration 
on Pretoria of most of the few soldiers that there were 
in the territory, in view of the disturbed condition of 
the country. In accordance with these orders. Colonel 
Anstruther marched from Lydenburg, a town about 
180 miles from Pretoria, on the 5th December, with 
the headquarters and two companies of the 94th 
Eegiment, being a total of 264 men, three women, 
and two children, and the disproportionately large 
train of thirty-four ox-waggons, or an ox-waggon 
capable of carrying five thousand pounds' weight to 
every eight persons. And here I may remark that it 
is this enormous amount of baggage, without which it 


appears to be impossible to move the smallest body 
of men, that renders infantry regiments almost useless 
for service in South Africa except for garrisoning pur- 
poses. Both Zulus and Boers can get over the ground 
at thrice the pace possible to the unfortunate soldier, 
and both races despise them accordingly. The Zulus 
call our infantry " pack oxen." In this particular in- 
stance, Colonel Anstruther's defeat, or rather, annihila- 
tion, is to a very great extent referable to his enormous 
baggage train; since, in the first place, had he not 
lost valuable days in collecting more waggons, he 
would have been safe in Pretoria before danger arose. 
It must also be acknowledged that his arrangements 
on the line of march were somewhat reckless, though 
it can hardly be said that he was ignorant of his 
danger. Thus we find that Colonel Bellairs wrote to 
Colonel Anstruther, warning him of the probability of 
an attack, and impressing on him the necessity of 
keeping a good look-out, the letter being received and 
acknowledged by the latter on the 17th December 

To this warning was added a still more impreasive 
one that came to my knowledge privately. A gentle- 
man well known to me received, on the morning after 
the troops had passed through the town of Middleburg 
on their way Jo Pretoria, a visit from an old Boer 
with whom he was on friendly terms, who had pur- 
posely come to tell him that a large patrol was out 
to ambush the troops on the Pretoria road. My in- 
formant having convinced himself of the truth of the 
statement, at once rode after the soldiers, and catching 
them up some distance from Middleburg, told Colonel 
Anstruther what he had heard, imploring him, he 
Haid, with all the energy he could command, to take 


better precautions against surprisa The Colonel, how- 
ever, laughed at his fears, and told him that if the 
Boers came " he would frighten them away with the 
big drum." 

At one o'clock on Sunday, the 20th December, the 
column was marching along about a mile and a half 
from a place known as Bronker's Splint, and thirty- 
eight miles from Pretoria, when suddenly a large num- 
ber of mounted Boers were seen in loose formation 
on the left side of the road. The band was playing 
at the time, and the column was extended over more 
than half a mile, the rearguard being about a hundred 
yards behind the last waggon. The band stopped 
playing on seeing the Boers, and the troops halted, 
when a man was seen advancing with a white flag, 
whom Colonel Anstruther went out to meet, accom- 
panied by Conductor Egerton, a civilian. They met 
about one hundred and fifty yards from the column, 
and the man gave Colonel Anstruther a letter, which 
announced the establishment of the South African 
Kepublic, stated that until they heard Lanyon's reply 
to their proclamation they did not know if they were 
at war or not; that, consequently, they could not 
allow any movements of troops, which would be taken 
as a declaration of war. This letter was signed by 
Joubert, one of the Triumvirate. Colonel Anstruther 
replied that he was ordered to Pretoria, and to Pretoria 
he must go. 

Whilst this conference was going on, the Boers, of 
whom there were quite five hundred, had gradually 
closed round the column, and took up positions behind 
rocks and trees which afforded them excellent cover, 
whilst the troops were on a bare plain, and before 


Ck^onel Anstruther reached his men a murderous fire 
was poured in upon them from all sides. The fire 
was hotly returned by the soldiers. Most of the 
officers were struck down by the first volley, having, 
no doubt, been picked out by the marksmen. The 
firing lasted about fifteen minutes, and at the end of 
that time seven out of the nine officers were down 
killed and wounded ; an eighth (Captain Elliot), one 
of the two who escaped, untouched, being reserved 
for an even more awful fate. The majority of the 
men were also down, and had the hail of lead con- 
tinued much longer it is clear that nobody would have 
been left. Colonel Anstruther, who was lying badly 
wounded in five places, seeing what a hopeless state 
afi'airs were in, ordered the bugler to sound the cease 
firing, and surrendered. One of the three officers who 
were not much hurt was, most providentially, Dr. 
Ward, who had but a slight wound in the thigh ; all 
the others, except Captain Elliot and one lieutenant, 
were either killed or died from the effects of their 
wounds. There were altogether 56 killed and 10 1 
wounded, including a woman, Mrs. Fox. Twenty 
more afterwards died of their wounds. The Boer loss 
appears to have been very small. 

After the fi^t Conductor Egerton, with a sergeant, 
was allowed to walk into Pretoria to obtain medical 
assistance, the Boers refusing to give him a horse, or 
even to allow him to use his own. The Boer leader 
also left Dr. Ward eighteen men and a few stores 
for the wounded, with which he made shift as best 
he could. Nobody can read this gentleman's report 
without being much impressed with the way ki which, 
though wounded himself, he got through his terrible 


task of, without assistance, attending to the wants of 
loi sufiferers. Beginning the task at 2 p.m., it took 
him till six the next morning before he had seen the 
last man. It is to be hoped that his services have 
met with some recognition. Dr. Ward remained near 
the scene of the massacre with his wounded men till 
the declaration of peace, when he brought them down 
to Maritzburg, having experienced great difficulty in 
obtaining food for them during so many weeks. 

This is a short account of what I must, with reluct- 
ance, call a most cruel and carefully planned massacre. 
I may mention that a Zulu driver, who was with the 
rearguard, and escaped into Natal, stated that the 
Boers shot all the wounded men who formed that 
body. His statement was to a certain extent borne 
out by the evidence of one of the survivors, who 
stated that all the bodies found in that part of the 
field (nearly three-quarters of a mile away from the 
head of the column), had a bullet hole through the 
head or breast in addition to their other wounds. 

The Administrator of the Transvaal in council thus 
comments on the occurrence in an official minute : — 
"The surrounding and gradual hemming in under a 
flag of truce of a force, and the selection of spots from 
which to direct their fire, as in the case of the unpro- 
voked attack by the rebels upon Colonel Anstruther's 
force, is a proceeding of which very few like incidents 
can be mentioned in the annals of civilised warfara" 

The Boer leaders, however, were highly elated at 
their success, and celebrated it in a proclamation of 
which the following is an extract : — " Inexpressible is 
the gratitude of the burghers for this blessing con- 
ferred on them. Thankful to the brave General F. 


Joubert and his men who have upheld the honour of 
the Kepublic on the battlefield. Bowed down in the 
dust before Almighty God, who had thus stood by 
them, and, with a loss of over a hundred of the enemy, 
only allowed two of ours to be killed.'* 

In view of the circumstances of the treacherous 
hemming in and destruction of this small body of un- 
prepared men, most people would think this language 
rather high-flown, not to say blasphemous. 

On the news of this disaster reaching Pretoria, 
Sir Owen Lanyon issued a proclamation placing the 
country under martial law. As the town was large, 
straggling, and incapable of defence, all the inhabitants, 
amounting to over four thousand souls, were ordered 
up to camp, where the best arrangements possible were 
made for their convenience. In these quarters they 
remained for three months, driven from their comfort- 
able homes, and cheerfully enduring all the hardships, 
want, and discomforts consequent on their position, 
whilst they waited in patience for the appearance of 
that relieving column that never came. People in 
England hardly understand what these men and women 
went through because they chose to remain loyal. 
Let them suppose that all the inhabitants of an 
ordinary English town, with the exception of the class 
known as poor people, which can hardly be said to 
exist in a colony, were at an hour's notice ordered — 
all, the aged and the sick, delicate women, and tiny 
children — to leave their homes to the mercy of the 
enemy, and crowd up in a little space under shelter 
of a fort, with nothing but canvas tents or sheds to 
cover them from the fierce summer suns and rains, 
and the coarsest rations to feed them ; whilst the 


husbands and brothers were daily engaged with a cun- 
ning and dangerous enemy, and sometimes brought 
home wounded or dead. They will then have some 
idea of what was gone through by the loyal people of 
Pretoria, in their weak confidence in the good faith of 
the English Government. 

The arrangements made for the defence of the town 
were so ably and energetically carried out by Sir 
Owen Lanyon, assisted by the military ofl&cers, that 
no attack upon it was ever attempted. It seems to 
me that the organisation that could provide for the 
penning up of four thousand people for months, and 
carry it out without the occurrence of a single un- 
pleasantness or expression of discontent, must have 
had something remarkable ' about it Of course, it 
would have been impossible without the most loyal 
co-operation on the part of those concerned. Indeed 
everybody in the town lent a helping hand ; judges 
served out rations, members of the Executive inspected 
nuisances, and so fortL There was only one instance 
of " striking ; " and then, of all .people in the world, 
it was the five civil doctors who, thinking it a favour- 
able opportunity to fleece the Government, combined 
to demand five guineas a-day each for their services. 
I am glad to say that they did not succeed in their 
attempt at extortion. 

On the 23d December, the Boer leaders issued a 
second proclamation in reply to that of Sir 0. Lanyon 
of the 1 8th, which is characterised by an utter absence 
of regard for the truth, being, in fact, nothing but a 
tissue of impudent falsehoods. It accuses Sir 0. Lanyon 
of having bombarded women and children, of arming 
natives against the Boers^ and of firing on the Boers 



without declaring war. Not one of these accusations 
has any foundation in fact, as the Boers well knew ; 
but they also knew that Sir Owen, being shut up in 
Pretoria, was not in a position to rebut their charges, 
which they hoped might, to some extent, be believed, 
and create sympathy for them in other parts of the 
world. This was the reason of the issue of the pro- 
clamation, which well portrays the character of its 

Life at Pretoria was varied by occasional sorties 
against the Boer laagers, situated at different points 
in the neighbourhood, generally about six or eight 
miles from the town. These expeditions were carried 
out with considerable success, though with some loss, 
the heaviest incurred being when the Boers, having 
treacherously hoisted the white flag, opened a heavy 
fire on the Pretoria forces, as soon as they, beguiled 
into confidence, emerged from their cover. In the 
course of the war, one in every four of the Pretoria 
mounted volunteers was killed or wounded. 

But perhaps the most serious of all the difficulties 
the Government had to meet was that of keeping the 
natives in check. As has before been stated, they 
were devotedly attached to our rule, and, during the 
three years of its continuance, had undergone what 
was to them a strange experience, they had neither 
been murdered, beaten, or enslaved. Naturally they 
were in no hurry to return to the old order of things, 
in which murder, flogging, and slavery were events of 
everyday occurrence. Nor did the behaviour of the 
Boers on the outbreak of the war tend to reconcile 
them to any such idea. Thus we find that the farmers 
had pressed a number of natives from Waterberg into 


one of their laagers (Zwart Koppies) ; two of them 
tried to run away, a Boer saw them and shot them 
both. Again, on the 7 th January, a native reported to 
the authorities at Pretoria that he and some others were 
returning from the Diamond Fields driving some sheep. 
A Boer came and asked them to sell the sheep. They 
refused, whereupon he went away, but returning with 
some other Dutchmen fired on the Kafirs, killing one. 

On the 2d January information reached Pretoria 
that on the 26th December some Boers fired on some 
natives who were resting outside Potchefstroom and 
killed three; the rest fled, whereupon the Boers took 
the cattle they had with them. 

On the nth January some men, who had been 
sent from Pretoria with despatches for Standerton, 
were taken prisoners. Whilst prisoners they saw ten 
men returning from the Fields stopped by the Boers 
and ordered to come to the laager. They refused 
and ran away, were fired on, five being killed and 
one getting his arm broken. 

These are a few instances of the treatment meted 
out to the unfortunate natives, taken at haphazard 
from the official reports. There are plenty more of 
the same nature if anybody cares to read them. 

As soon as the news of the rising reached them, 
every chief of any importance sent in to ofifer aid to 
Government, and many of them, especially Montsioa, 
our old ally in the Keate Award district, took the 
loyals of the neighbourhood under their protection. 
Several took charge of Government property and cattle 
during the disturbances, and one had four or five 
thousand pounds in gold, the product of a recently 
collected tax, given him to take care of by the Com- 


missioner of his district, who was afraid that the 
money would be seized by the Boers. In every 
instance the property entrusted to their charge was 
returned intact. The loyalty of all the native chiefs 
under very trying circumstances (for the Boers were 
constantly attempting to cajole or frighten them into 
joining them) is a remarkable proof of the great affec- 
tion of the Kafirs, more especially those of the Basuto 
tribes, who love peace better than war, for the Queen's 
rule. The Government of Pretoria need only have 
spoken one word to set an enormous number of armed 
men in motion against the Boers, with the most serious 
results to the latter. Any other Government in the 
world would, in its extremity, have spoken that word, 
but, fortunately for the Boers, it is against English 
principles to set black against white under any cir- 

Besides the main garrison at Pretoria there were 
forts defended by soldiery and loyals at the following 
places: — Potchefstroom, Eustenburg, Lydenburg, Mara- 
bastad, and Wakkerstroom, none of which were taken 
by the Boers.^ 

One of the first acts of the Triumvirate was to 
despatch a large force from Heidelberg with orders to 
advance into Natal Territory, and seize the pass over 
the Drakenfiberg known as Lang's Nek, so as to dispute 
the advance of any relieving column. This movement 
was promptly executed, and strong Boer troops patrolled 
N'atal country almost up to Newcastle. 

The news of the outbreak, followed as it was by 

* Colonel Wiualoe, however, beiug short of pruvisioua, wtM beguiled 
by the fratidnlent representations and acts of the Boer commander into 
•urrendering the fort at Potchefstroom daring the armifitioe. 


that of the Bronker's Spruit massacre, and Captain 
Elliot's murder, created a great excitement in Natal, 
All available soldiers were at once despatched up 
country, together with a naval brigade, who, on arrival 
at Newcastle, brought up the strength of the Imperial 
troops of all arms to about a thousand men. On the 
loth January Sir George CoUey left Maritzburg to 
join the force at Newcastle, but at this time nobody 
dreamt that he meant to attack the Nek with such an 
insignificant column. It was known that the loyals 
and troops who were shut up in the various towns 
in the Transvaal had sufficient provisions to last for 
some months, and that there was therefore nothing to 
necessitate a forlorn hope. Indeed the possibility of 
Sir George Colley attempting to enter the Transvaal 
was not even speculated upon until just before his 
advance, it being generally considered as out of the 

The best illustration I can give of the feeling that 
existed about the matter is to quote my own case. I 
had been so unfortunate as to land in Natal with my 
wife and servants just as the Transvaal troubles began, 
my intention being to proceed to a place I had near 
Newcastle. For some weeks I remained in Maritz- 
burg, but finding that the troops were to concentrate 
on Newcastle, and being besides heartily wearied of 
the great expense and discomfort of hotel life in that 
town, I determined to go on up country, looking on 
it as being as safe as any place in the colony. Of 
course the possibility of Sir George attacking the Nek 
before the arrival of the reinforcements did not enter 
into my calculations, as I thought it a venture that 
no sensible man would undertake. On the day of 


my start, however, there was a rumour about the 
town that the General was going to attack the Boer 
position. Though I did not believe it, I thought it 
as well to go and ask the Colonial Secretary, Colonel 
Mitchell, privately, if there was any truth in it, adding 
that if there was, as I had a pretty intimate knowledge 
of the Boers and their shooting powers, and what the 
inevitable result of such a move would be, I should 
certainly prefer, as I had ladies with me, to remain 
where I was. Colonel Mitchell told me frankly that 
he knew no more about Sir George's plans than I 
did ; but he added I might be sure that so able and 
prudent a soldier would not do anything rash. His 
remark concurred with my own opinion ; so I started, 
and on arrival at Newcastle a week later was met 
by the intelligence that Sir George had advanced that 
morning to attack the Nek. To return was almost 
impossible, since both horses and travellers were pretty 
nearly knocked up. Also, anybody who has travelled 
with his family in summer-time over the awful track 
of alternate slough and boulders between Maritzburg 
and Newcastle, known in the colony as a road, will 
understand that at the time the adventurous voyagers 
would far rather risk being shot than face a return 

The only thing to do under the circumstances was 
to await the course of events, which were now about 
to develop themselves with startling rapidity. The 
little town of Newcastle was at this time an odd sight, 
and remained so all through the war. The hotels 
were crowded to overflowing with refugees, and on 
every spare patch of land were erected tents, mud 
huts, canvas houses, and every kind of covering that 


could be utilised under the pressure of necessity, to 
house the many homeless families who had succeeded 
in effecting their escape from the Transvaal, many of 
whom were reduced to great straits. 

On the morning of the 28th January, anybody 
listening attentively in the neighbourhood of Newcastle 
could hear the distant boom of heavy guns. We were 
not kept long in suspense, for in the afternoon news 
arrived that Sir George had attacked the Nek, and 
failed with heavy loss. The excitement in the town 
was intense, for, in addition to other considerations, 
the 58 th Kegiment, which had suffered most, had 
been quartered there for some time, and both the 
officers and men were personally known to the in- 

The story of the fight is well known, and needs 
little repetition, and a very sad story it is. The Boers, 
who at that time were some 2000 strong, were posted 
and entrenched on steep hills, against which Sir 
George CoUey hurled a few hundred soldiers. It was 
a forlorn hope, but so gallant was the charge, espe- 
cially that of the mounted squadron led by Major 
Bronlow, that at one time it nearly succeeded. But 
nothincf could stand under the witherincr fire from the 

O O 

Boer schanses, and as regards the foot soldiers, they 
never had a chance. Colonel Deane tried to take 
them up the hill with a rush, with the result that 
by the time they reached the top, some of the men 
were actually sick from exhaustion, and none could 
hold a rifle steady. There on. the bare hill-top they 
crouched and lay, whilst the pitiless fire from redoubt 
and rock lashed them like hail, till at last human 
nature could bear it no longer, and what was left of 


them retired slowly down the slope. But for many 
that gallant charge was their last earthly action. As 
they charged they fell, and where they fell they were 
afterwards buried. The casualties, killed and wounded, 
amounted to 195, which, considering the small number 
of troops engaged in the actual attack, is enormously 
heavy, and shows more plainly than words can tell 
the desperate nature of the undertaking. Amongst 
the killed were Colonel Deane, Major Poole, Major 
Hinges ton, and Lieutenant Elwes. Major Essex was 
the only staff officer engaged who escaped, the same 
officer who was one of the fortunate four who lived 
through Isandhlwana. On this occasion his usual 
good fortune attended him, for though his horse was 
killed and his helmet knocked off, he was not touched. 
The Boer loss was very trivial. 

Sir George CoUey, in his admirably lucid despatch 
about this occurrence addressed to the Secretary of 
State for War, does not enter much into the question 
as to the motives that prompted him to attack, simply 
stating that his object was to relieve the besieged 
towns. He does not appear to have taken into con- 
sideration, what was obvious to anybody who knew 
the country and the Boers, that even if he had suc- 
ceeded in forcing the Nek, in itself almost an impossi- 
bility, he could never have operated with any success 
in the Transvaal with so small a column, without 
cavalry, and with an enormous train of waggons. He 
would have been harassed day and night by the Boer 
skirmishers, his supplies cut off, and his advance made 
practically impossible. Also the Nek would have 
been re-occupied behind him, since he could not have 
detached sufficient men to hold it, and in all proba- 


bility Newcastle, his base of supplies, would have fallen 
into the hands of the enemy. 

The moral effect of our defeat on the Boers was 
very great. Up to this time there had been many 
secret doubts amongst a large section of them as to 
what the upshot of an encounter with the troops 
might be ; and with this party, in the same way that 
defeat, or even the anxiety of waiting to be attacked, 
would have turned the scale one way, victory turned 
it the other. It gave them unbounded confidence in 
their own superiority, and infused a spirit of cohesion 
and mutual reliance into their ranks which had before 
been wanting. Waverers wavered no longer, but gave 
a loyal adherence to the good cause, and, what was 
still more acceptable, large numbers of volunteers, 
— whatever President Brand may say to the contrary, 
— poured in from the Orange Free State. 

What Sir George Colley's motive was in making so 
rash a move is, of course,- quite inexplicable to the 
outside observer. It was said at the time in Natal 
that he was a man with a theory : namely, that small 
bodies of men properly handled were as useful and as 
likely to obtain the object in view as a large force. 
Whether or no this was so, I am not prepared to say ; 
but it is undoubtedly the case that very clever men 
have sometimes very odd theories, and it may be that 
he was a striking instance in point. 

For some days after the battle at Lang's Nek affairs 
were quiet, and it was hoped that they would remain 
so till the arrival of the reinforcements, which were 
on their way out. The hope proved a vain one. 
On the 7 th February it was reported that the escort 
proceeding from Newcastle to the General's camp with 



the post, a distance of about eighteen miles, had been 
fired on and forced to return. 

On the 8th, about mid-day, we were all startled by 
the sound of fighting, proceeding apparently from a 
hill known as Scheins Hoogte, about ten miles from 
Newcastle. It was not known that the General con- 
templated any move, and everybody was entirely at a 
loss to know what was going on, the general idea 
being, however, that the camp near Lang's Nek had 
been abandoned, and that Sir George was retiring on 

The firing grew hotter and hotter, till at last it was 
perfectly continuous, the cannon evidently being dis- 
charged as quickly as they could be loaded, whilst 
their dull booming was accompanied by the unceas- 
ing crash and roll of the musketry. Towards three 
o'clock the firing slackened, and we thought it was all 
over, one way or the other, but about five o'clock it 
broke out again with increased vigour. At dusk it 
finally ceased. About this time some Kafirs came 
to my house and told us that an English force was 
hemmed in on a hill this side of the Ingogo River, 
that they were fighting bravely, but that " their arms 
were tired," adding that they thought they would be 
all killed at night. 

Needless to say we spent that night with heavy 
hearts, expecting every minute to hear the firing begin 
again, and ignorant of what fate had befallen our poor 
soldiers on the hill. Morning put an end to our 
suspense, and we then learnt that we had suffered 
what, under the circumstances, amounted to a crush- 
ing defeat It appears that Sir George had moved out 
with a force of five companies of the 6otb Regiment, 


two guns, and a few mounted men, to, in his own 
words, " patrol the road, and meet and escort some 
waggons expected from Newcastle." As soon as he 
passed the Ingogo he was surrounded by a body of 
Boers sent after him from Lang's Nek, on a small 
triangular plateau, and sharply assailed on all sides. 
With a break of about two hours, from three to five, 
the assault was kept up till nightfall, with very bad 
results so far as we were concerned, seeing that out of 
a body of about 500 men, over 150 were killed and 
wounded. The reinforcements sent for from the camp 
apparently did not come into action. For some un- 
explained reason the Boers did not follow up their 
attack that night, perhaps because they did not think 
it possible that our troops could effect their escape 
back to the camp, and considered that the next morn- 
ing would be soon enough to return and finish the 
business. The General, however, determined to get 
back, and scratch teams oj such mules, riding-horses, 
and oxen as had lived through the day being harnessed 
tq the guns, the dispirited and exhausted survivors of 
the force managed to ford the Ingogo, now swollen by 
rain which had fallen in the afternoon, poor Lieutenant 
Wilkinson, the adjutant of the 60th, losing his life in 
the operation, and to struggle through the dense dark- 
ness back to camp. 

On the hill-top they had lately held the dead lay 
thick. There, too, exposed to the driving rain and 
bitter wind, lay the wounded, many of whom would be 
dead before the rising of the morrow's sun. It must 
indeed have been a sight never to be forgotten by 
those who saw it. The night — I remember well — 
was cold and rainy, the great expanses of hill and 


plain being sometimes lit by the broken gleams of an 
uncertain moon, and sometimes plunged into intensest 
darkness by the passing of a heavy cloud. Xow and 
again flashes of lightning threw every crag and outline 
into vivid relief, and the deep muttering of distant 
thunder made the wild gloom more solemn. Then a 
gust of icy wind would come tearing down the valleys 
to be followed by a pelting thunder shower — and thus 
the night wore away. 

When one reflects what discomfort, and even danger, 
an ordinary healthy person would sufier if left after a 
hard day's work to lie all night in the rain and wind 
on the top of a stony mountain, without food, or even 
water to assuage his thirst, it becomes to some degree 
possible to realise what the sufferings of our wounded 
after the battle of Ingogo must have been. Those 
who survived were next day taken to the hospital at 

What Sir George Colley's real object was in expos- 
ing himself to the attack has never transpired. It 
can hardly have been to clear the road, as he says in 
his despatch, because the road was not held by the 
enemy, but only visited occasionally by their patrols. 
The result of the battle was to make the Boers, whose 
losses were trifling, more confident than ever, and to 
greatly depress our soldiers. Sir George had now lost 
between three and four hundred men out of his 
column of little over a thousand, which was tliereby 
entirely crippled. Of his staff officers Major Essex 
now alone survived, his usual good fortune having 
carried him safe through the battle of Ingogo. What 
makes his repeated escapes the more remarkable is 
that he was generally to be found in the heaviest 


firing. A man so fortunate as Major Essex ought to 
be rewarded for his good fortune if for no other reason, 
though, if reports are true, there would be no need to 
fall back on that to find grounds on which to advance 
a soldier who has always borne himself so well. 

Another result of the Ingogo battle was that the 
Boers, knowing that we had no force to cut them off, 
and always secure of a retreat into the Free State, 
passed round Newcastle in Free State Territory, and 
descended from fifteen hundred to two thousand strong 
into Natal for the purpose of destroying the reinforce- 
ments which were now on their way up under General 
Wood. This was on the nth of February, and from 
that date till the i8th the upper districts of Natal 
were in the hands of the enemy, who cut the telegraph 
wires, looted waggons, stole herds of cattle and horses, 
and otherwise amused themselves at the expense of 
Her Majesty's subjects in Natal. 

It was a very anxious time for those who knew what 
Boers are capable of, and had women and children to 
protect, and who were never sure if their houses would 
be left standing over their heads from one day to 

Every night we were obliged to place out Kafirs as 
scouts to give us timely warning of the approach of 
marauding parties, and to sleep with loaded rifles close 
to our hands, and sometimes, when things looked very 
black, in our clothes, with horses ready saddled in the 
stable. Nor were our fears groundless, for one day a 
patrol of some five hundred Boers encamped on the 
next place, which by the way belonged to a Dutchman, 
and stole all the stock on it, the property of an 
Englishman. They also intercepted a train of waggons, 


destroyed the contents, and burnt them. Numerous 
were the false alarms it was our evil fortune to experi- 
ence. For instance, one night I was sitting in the 
drawing-room reading, about eleven o'clock, with a door 
leading on to the verandah slightly ajar, for the night 
was warm, when suddenly I heard myself called by 
name in a muffled voice, and asked if the place was in 
the possession of the Boers. Looking towards the door 
I saw a full-cocked revolver coming round the corner, 
and on opening it in some alarm, I could indistinctly 
discern a line of armed figures in a crouching attitude 
stretching along the verandah into the garden beyond. 
It turned out to be a patrol of the mounted police, who 
had received information that a large number of Boers 
had seized the place and had come to ascertain the 
truth of the report. As we gathered from them that 
the Boers were certainly near, we did not pass a very 
comfortable night. 

Meanwhile we were daily expecting to hear that the 
troops had been attacked along the line of march, and 
knowing the nature of the country and the many 
opportunities it affords for ambuscading and destroying 
one of our straggling columns encumbered with innumer- 
able waggons, we had the worst fears for the result. 
At length a report reached us to the effect that the 
reinforcements were expected on the morrow, and that 
they were not going to' cross the Ingagaan at the 
ordinary drift, which was much commanded by hills, 
but at a lower drift on our own place, about three 
miles from Newcastle, which is only slightly com- 
manded. We also heard that it was the intention of 
the Boers to attack them at this point and to fall back 
on my house and the hills behind. Accordingly, we 


thought it about time to retreat, and securing a few 
valuables, such as plate, we made our way into the 
town, leaving the house and its contents to take their 
chance. At Newcastle an attack was daily expected, 
if for no other reason, to obtain possession of the stores 
collected there. 

The defences of the place were, however, in a wretched 
condition, no proper outlook was kept, and there was 
an utter want of effective organisation. The military 
element at the camp had enough to do to look after 
itself, and did not concern itself with the safety of the 
town; and the mounted police — a colonial force paid 
by the colony — had been withdrawn from the little 
forts round Newcastle, as the General wanted them for 
other purposes, and a message sent that the town must 
defend its own forts. There were, it is true, a large 
number of able-bodied men in the place who were 
willing to fight, but they had no organisation. The 
very laager was not finished until the danger was 

Then there was a large party who were for surrender- 
ing the town to the Boers, because if they fought it 
might afterwards injure their trade. With this section 
of the population the feeling of patriotism was strong, 
no doubt, but that of pocket was stronger. I am con- 
vinced that the Boers would have found the capture of 
Newcastle an easy task, and I confess that what I then 
saw did not inspire me with great hopes of the safety 
of the colony when it gets responsible government, 
and has to depend for protection on burgher forces. 
Colonial volunteer forces are, I think, as good troops as 
any in the world; but an unorganised colonial mob, 
pulled this way and that by different sentiments and 


interests, is as useless as any other mob, with the 
difference that it is more impatient of controL 

For some unknown reason the Boer leaders provi- 
dentially changed their minds about attacking the rein- 
forcements, and their men were withdrawn to the ITek 
as swiftly and silently as they had been advanced, and 
on the 17th February the reinforcements marched into 
Newcastle, to the very great relief of the inhabitants, 
who had been equally anxious for their own safety and 
that of the troops. Personally, I was never in my life 
more pleased to see Her Majesty'? uniform ; and we were 
equally rejoiced on returnincr home to find that nothing 
had been injured. After this we had quiet for a while. 

On the 2ist February, we heard that two fresh regi- 
m-ents had been sent up to the camp at Lang's Nek, 
and that General Wood had been ordered down country 
by Sir George Colley to bring up more reinforcements. 
This item of news caused much surprise, as nobody 
could understand why, now that the road was clear, 
and that there was little chance of its being again 
blocked, a General should be sent down to do work 
which could, to all appearance, have been equally well 
done by the officers in command of the reinforcing 
regiments, with the assistance of their transport riders. 
It was, however, understood that an agreement had been 
entered into between the two Generals that no offensive 
operations should be undertaken till Wood returned. 

With the exception of occasional scares, there was 
no further excitement till Sunday the 27th February, 
when, whilst sitting on the verandah after lunch, I 
thought I heard the sound of distant artillery. Others 
present differed with me, thinking the sound was caused 
by thunder, but as I adhered to my opinion, we deter- 


mined to ride into town and see. On arrival there 
we found the place full of rumours, from which we 
gathered that some fresh disaster had occurred; and 
that messages were pouring down the wires from 
Mount Prospect camp. We then went on to camp, 
thinking that we should learn more there, but they 
knew nothing about it, several officers asking us what 
new "shave" we had got hold of. A considerable 
number of troops had been marched from Newcastle 
that morning to go to Mount Prospect, but when it 
was realised that something had occurred, they were 
stopped, and marched back again. Bit by bit we 
managed to gather the truth. At first we heard that 
our men had made a most gallant resistance on the 
hill, mowing down the advancing enemy by hundreds, 
till at last, their ammunition failing, they fought with 
their bayonets, using stones and meat tins as missiles. 
I wish that our subsequent information had been to 
the same effect. 

It appears that on the evening of the 26th, Si? 
George CoUey, after mess, suddenly gave orders for a 
force of a little over six hundred men, consisting of 
detachments from no less than three different regi- 
ments, the 58th, 60th, 92d, and the Naval Brigade, to 
be got ready for an expedition, without revealing his 
plans to anybody until late in the afternoon; and 
then without more ado, marched them up to the top 
of Majuba — a great square-topped mountain to the 
right of, and commanding the Boer position at Lang's 
Nek. The troops reached the top about three in the 
morning, after a somewhat exhausting climb, and were 
stationed at different points of the plateau in a scientific 
way. Whilst the darkness lasted, they could, by the 


glittering of the watch-fires, trace from this point of 
vantage the position of the Boer laagers that lay 2000 
yards beneath them, whilst the dawn of day revealed 
every detail of the defensive works, and showed the 
country lying at their feet like a map. 

On arrival at the top, it was represented to the 
General that a rough entrenchment should be thrown 
up, but he would not allow it to be done on account of 
the men being wearied with their marching up. This 
was a fatal mistake. Behind an entrenchment, however 
slight, one would think that 600 English soldiers might 
have defied the whole Boer army, and much more the 
200 or 300 men by whom they were hunted down 
Majuba. It appears that about 10.15 -^-M., Colonel 
Stewart and Major Eraser again went to General CoUey 
" to arrange to start the sailors on an entrenchment." . . . 
" Einding the ground so exposed, the General did not 
give orders to entrench." 

As soon as the Boers found out that the hill was in 
the occupation of the English, their first idea was to 
leave the Nek, and they began to inspan with that 
object, but discovering that there were no guns com- 
manding them, they changed their mind, and set to 
work to storm the hill instead. As far as I have been 
able to gather, the number of Boers who took the 
mountain was about 300, or possibly 400; I do not 
think there were more than that The Boers them- 
selves declare solemnly that they were only 100 strong, 
but this I do not believe. They slowly advanced up 
the hill till about 11.30, when the real attack began, 
the Dutchmen coming on more rapidly and confidently, 
and shooting with ever-increasing accuracy, as they 
found our fire quite ineffective. 


About a quarter to one, our men retreated to the 
last ridge, and General CoUey was shot through the 
head. After this, the retreat became a rout, and the 
soldiers rushed pell-mell down the precipitous sides of 
the hill, the Boers knocking them over by the score as 
they went, till they were out of range. A few were 
also, 1 heard, killed by the shells from the guns that 
were advanced from the camp to cover the retreat, but 
as this does not appear in the reports, perhaps it is not 
true. Our loss was about 200 killed and wounded, 
including Sir George Colley, Drs. Landon and Comish, 
and Commander Romilly, who was shot with an 
explosive bullet, and died after some days' suffering. 
When the wounded Commander was being carried to 
a more sheltered spot, it was with great difficulty that 
the Boers were prevented from massacring him as he 
lay, they being under the impression that he was Sir 
Garnet Wolseley. As was the case at Ingogo, the 
wounded were left on the battlefield all night in very 
inclement weather, to which some of them succumbed. 
It is worthy of note that after the fight was over 
they were treated with considerable kindness by the 

Not being a soldier, of course, I cannot venture to 
give any military reasons as to how it was that what 
was after all a considerable force was so easily driven 
from a position of great natural strength ; but I think 
I may, without presumption, state my opinion as to 
the real cause, which was the villainous shooting of the 
British soldier. Though the troops did not, as was 
said at the time, run short of ammunition, it is clear 
that they fired away a great many rounds at men who, 
in storming the hill, must necessarily have exposed 


themselves more or less, of whom they managed to hit 
— certainly not more than six or seven — which was 
the outside of the Boer casualties. From this it is 
clear that they can neither judge distance nor hit a 
moving object, nor did they probably know that when 
shooting down hill it is necessary to aim low. Such 
shooting as the English soldier is capable of may be 
very well when he has an army to aim at, but it is 
useless in guerilla warfare against a foe skilled in the 
use of the rifle and the art of taking shelter. 

A couple of months after the storming of Majuba, 
I, together with a friend, had a conversation with a 
Boer, a volunteer from the Free State in the late war, 
and one of the detachment that stormed Majuba, who 
gave us a circumstantial account of the attack with 
the greatest willingness. He said that when it was 
discovered that the English had possession of the 
mountain, they thought that the game was up, but 
after a while bolder counsels prevailed, and volun- 
teers were called for to storm the hill. Only seventy 
men could be found to perform the duty, of whom 
he was one. They started up the mountain in fear 
and trembling, but soon found that every shot passed 
over their heads, and went on with greater boldness. 
Only three men, he declared, were hit on the Boer 
side ; one was killed, one was hit in the arm, and he 
himself was the third, getting his face grazed by a 
bullet, of which he showed us the scar. He stated 
that the first to reach the top ridge was a boy of 
twelve, and that as soon as the troops saw them they 
fled, when, he said, he paid them out for having nearly 
killed him, knocking them over one after another " like 
bucks " as they ran down the hill, adding that it was 


" alter lecker " (very nice). He asked us how many 
men we had lost during the war, and when we told 
him ahout seven hundred killed and wounded, laughed 
in our faces, saying he knew that our dead amounted 
to several thousands. On our assuring him that this 
was not the case, he replied, "Well, don't let's talk 
of it any more, because we are good friends now, and 
if we go on you will lie, and I shall lie, and then we 
shall get angry. The war is over now, and I don't 
want to quarrel with the English ; if one of them takes 
off his hat to me I always acknowledge it." He did 
not mean any harm in talking thus ; it is what Eng- 
lishmen have to put up with now in South Africa; 
the Boers have beaten us, and act accordingly. 

This man also told us that the majority of the rifles 
they picked up were sighted for 400 yards, whereas the 
latter part of the fighting had been carried on within 

Sir George CoUey's death was much lamented in the 
colony, where he was deservedly popular ; indeed, any- 
body who had the honour of knowing that kind-hearted 
English gentleman, could not do otherwise than deeply 
regret his untimely end. What his motive was in oc- 
cupying Majuba in the way he did has never, so far 
as I am aware, transpired. The move, in itself, would 
have been an excellent one, had it been made in force, 
or accompanied by a direct attack on the IsTek, but, 
as undertaken, seems to have been objectless. There 
were, of course, many rumours as to the motives that 
prompted his action, of which the most probable seems 
to be that, being aware of what the Home Government 
intended to do with reference to the Transvaal, he de- 
termined to strike a blow to try and establish British 


supremacy first, knowing how mischievous any ap- 
parent surrender would be. Whatever his faults may 
have been as a General, he was a brave man, and had 
the honour of his country much at heart. 

It was also said by soldiers who saw him the night 
the troops marched up Majuba, that the General was 
" not himself," and it was hinted that continual anxiety 
and the chagrin of failure had told upon his mind. As 
against this, however, must be set the fact that his 
telegrams to the Secretary of State for War, the last 
of which he must have despatched only about half 
an hour before he was shot, are cool and collected, 
and written in the same unconcerned tone — as though 
he were a critical spectator of an interesting scene — 
that characterises all his communications, more espe- 
cially his despatches. They at any rate give no evi- 
dence of shaken nerve or unduly excited brain, nor 
can I see that any action of his with reference to the 
occupation of Majuba is out of keeping with the 
details of his generalship upon other occasions. He 
was always confident to rashness, and possessed by 
the idea that every man in the ranks was full of as 
high a spirit, and as brave as he was himself. In- 
deed, most people will think, that so far from its 
being a rasher action, the occupation of Majuba, bad 
generalship as it seems, was a wiser move than either 
the attack on the Nek or the Ingogo fiasco. 

But at the best, all his movements are difficult to 
be understood by a civilian, though they may, for 
ought we know, have been part of an elaborate plan, 
perfected in accordance with the rules of military 
science, of which, it is said, he was a great student. 



When Parliament met in January 1881, the Govern 
ment announced, through the mediumship of the 
Queen's Speech, that it was their intention to • vin- 
dicate Her Majesty's authority in the Transvaal. I 
have already briefly described the somewhat unfor- 
tunate attempts to gain this end by force of arms; 
and I now propose to follow the course of the diplo- 
matic negotiations entered into by the ministry with 
the same object 

As soon as the hostilities in the Transvaal took a 
positive form, causing great dismay among the Home 
authorities, whose paths, as we all know, are the 
paths of peace — at any price ; and whilst, in the 
first confusion of calamity, they knew not where to 
turn, President Brand stepped upon the scene in the 
character of *' Our Mutual Friend," and, by the Govern- 
ment at any rate, was rapturously welcomed. 

This gentleman has for many years been at the head 
of the Government of the Orange Free State, whose 
fortunes he had directed with considerable ability. 
He is a man of natural talent and kind-hearted dis- 
position, and has the advancement of the Boer cause 
in South Africa much at heart The rising in the 



Transvaal was an event that gave him a great and 
threefold opportunity: first, of interfering with the 
genuinely benevolent object of checking bloodshed; 
secondly, of advancing the Dutch cause throughout 
South Africa under the cloak of amiable neutrality, 
and striking a dangerous blow at British supremacy 
over the Dutch and British prestige with the natives ; 
and, thirdly, of putting the English Government 
under a lasting obligation to him. Of this oppor- 
tunity he has availed himself to the utmost in each 

So soon as things began to look serious, Mr. Brand 
put himself into active telegraphic communication with 
the various British authorities with the view of pre- 
venting bloodshed by inducing the English Govern- 
ment to accede to the Boer demands. He was also 
earnest in his declarations that the Free State was 
not supporting the Transvaal ; which, considering that 
it was practically the insurgent base of supplies, where 
they had retired their women, children, and cattle, and 
that it furnished them with a large number of volun- 
teers, was perhaps straining the truth. 

About this time also we find Lord Kimberley tele- 
graphing to Mr. Brand that "if only the Transvaal 
Boers will desist from armed opposition to the Queen's 
authority ,** he thinks some arrangement might be made. 
This is the first indication made public of what was 
passing in the minds of Her Majesty's Government, 
on whom its Kadical supporters were now beginning 
to put the screw, to induce or threaten them into sub- 
mitting to the Boer demands. 

Again, on the nth January, the President tele- 
graphed to Lord Kimberley through the Orange Free 


State Consul in London, suggesting that Sir H. de 
Villiers, the Chief Justice at the Cape, should be ap- 
pointed a Commissioner to go to the Transvaal to settle 
matters. Oddly enough, about the same time the same 
proposition emanated from the Dutch party in the Cape 
Colony, headed by Mr. Hofmeyer, a coincidence that 
inclines one to the opinion that these friends of the 
Boers had some further reason for thus urging Sir 
Henry de Villiers' appointment as Commissioner beyond 
his apparent fitness for the post, of which his high 
reputation as a lawyer and in his private capacity was 
a sufficient guarantee. 

The explanation is not hard to find, the fact being 
that, rightly or wrongly, Sir Henry de Villiers, who is 
himself of Dutch descent, is noted throughout South 
Africa for his sympathies with the Boer cause, and 
both President Brand and the Dutch party in the 
Cape shrewdly suspected that, if the settling of dif- 
ferences were left to his discretion, the Boers and 
their interests would receive very gentle handling. 
The course of action adopted by him, when he be- 
came a member of the Eoyal Commission, went far 
to support this view, for it will be noticed in the 
Eeport of the Commissioners that in every single 
point he appears to have taken the Boer side of the 
contention. Indeed so blind was he to their faults, 
that he would not even admit that the horrible 
Potchefstroom murders and atrocities, which are con- 
demned both by Sir H. Kobinson and Sir Evelyn 
Wood in language as strong as the formal terms of 
a report will allow, were acts contrary to the rules 
of civilised warfare. If those acts had been perpe- 
trated by Englishmen on Boers, or even on natives, 


I venture to think Sir Henry de Villiers would have 
looked at them in a very different light. 

In the same telegram in which President Brand 
recommends the appointment of Sir Henry de Villiers, 
he states that the allegations made by the Triumvirate 
in the proclamation in which they accused Sir Owen 
Lanyon of committing various atrocities, deserve to be 
investigated, as they maintain that the collision was 
commenced by the authorities. Nobody knew better 
than Mr. Brand that any English official would be 
quite incapable of the conduct ascribed to Sir Owen 
Lanyon, whilst, even if the collision had been com- 
menced by the authorities, which as it happened it 
was not, they would under the circumstances have 
been amply justified in so commencing it This re- 
mark by President Brand in his telegram was merely 
an attempt to throw an air of probability over a series 
of slanderous falsehoods. 

. Messages of this nature continued to pour along 
the wires from day to day, but the tone of those from 
the Colonial Office grew gradually humbler. Thus we 
find Lord Kimberley telegraphing on the 8 th February, 
that if the Boers would desist from armed opposition 
all reasonable guarantees would be given as to their 
treatment after submission, and that a scheme would 
be framed for the "permanent friendly settlement of 
difficulties." It will be seen that the Government had 
already begun to water the meaning of their declara- 
tion that they would vindicate Her Majesty's autho- 
rity. No doubt Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Courtney, and 
their followers had given another turn to the Radical 

It is, however, clear that at this time no idea of 


the real aims of the Government had entered into 
the mind of Sir George CoUey, since on the 7th Feb- 
ruary he telegraphed home a plan which he proposed 
to adopt on entering the Transvaal, which included a 
suggestion that he should grant a complete amnesty 
only to those Boers who would sign a declaration of 

In answer to this he was ordered to do nothing of 
the sort, but to promise protection to everybody and 
refer everything home. 

Then came the battle of Ingogo, which checked for 
the time the flow of telegrams, or rather varied their 
nature, for those despatched during the next few days 
deal with the question of reinforcements. On the 
13th February, however, negotiations were reopened 
by Paul Kruger, one of the Triumvirate, who offered, 
if all the troops were ordered to withdraw from the 
Transvaal, to give them a free passage through the 
Nek, to disperse the Boers, and to consent to thQ 
appointment of a Commission. 

The offer was jumped at by Lord Kimberley, who, 
without making reference to the question of with- 
drawing the soldiers, offered, if only the Boers would 
disperse, to appoint a Commission with extensive 
powers to develop the "permanent friendly settle- 
ment " scheme. The telegram ends thus : " Add, that 
if this proposal is accepted, you now are authorised 
to agree to suspension of hostilities on our part." 
This message was sent to General Wood, because 
the Boers had stopped the communications with 
Colley. On the 19th, Sir George Colley replies in 
these words, which show his astonishment at the 
policy adopted by the Home Government, and which. 


in the opinion of most people, redound to his 
credit — 

" Latter part of your telegram to Wood not under- 
stood. There can be no hostilities if no resistance is 
made, but am I to leave Lang's N'ek in Natal territory 
in Boer occupation, and our garrisons isolated and short 
of provisions, or occupy former and relieve latter?" 
Lord Kimberley hastens to reply that the garrisons 
must be left free to provision themselves, "but we 
do not mean that you should march to the relief of 
garrisons or occupy Lang's Nek if an arrangement 

It will be seen that the definition of what vindica- 
tion of Her Majesty's authority consisted grew broader 
and broader; it now included the right of the Boers 
to continue to occupy their positions in the colony 
of Natal. 

Meanwhile the daily fire of complimentary messages 
was being kept up between President Brand and Lord 
Kimberley, who alternately gave " sincere thanks to 
Lord Kimberley " and ** fully appreciated the friendly 
spirit" of President Brand, till on the 21st February 
the latter telegraphs through Colley: "Hope of amic- 
able settlement by negotiation, but this will* be greatly 
facilitated if somebody on spot and friendly disposed 
to both couM by personal communication with both 
endeavour to smooth difficulties. Ofiers his services 
to Her ^lajesty's Government, and Kruger and Pre- 
torius and Joubert are willing." Needless to say his 
services were accepted. 

Presently, however, on 27th February, Sir George 
Colley made his last move, and took possession of 
Majuba. His defeat and death had the effect of causing 


another temporary check in the peace negotiations, 
whilst Sir Frederick Eoberts with ample reinforcements 
was despatched to Natal. It had the further effect 
of increasing the haughtiness of the Boer leaders, and 
infusing a corresponding spirit of pliability or gene- 
rosity into the negotiations of Her Majesty's Govern- 

Thus on 2d March, the Boers, through President 
Brand and Sir Evelyn Wood, inform the Secretary of 
State for the Colonies that they are willing to negotiate, 
but decline to submit or cease opposition. Sir Evelyn 
Wood, who evidently did not at all like the line of 
policy adopted by the Government, telegraphed that 
he thought the best thing to do would be for him to 
engage the Boers, and disperse them vi et armis, with- 
out any guarantees, '* considering the disasters we have 
sustained," and that he should, "if absolutely neces- 
sary," be empowered to promise life and property to 
the leaders, but that they should be banished from the 
country. In answer to this telegram, Lord Kimberley 
informs him that Her Majesty's Government will am- 
nesty everybody except those who have committed acts 
contrary to the rules of civilised warfare, and that they 
will agree to anything, and appoint a Commission to 
carry out the details, and " be ready for friendly com- 
munications with any persons appointed by the Boers." 

Thus was Her Majesty's authority finally re-estab- 
lished in the Transvaal. 

It was not a very grand climax, nor the kind of 
arrangement to which Englishmen are accustomed, but 
perhaps, considering the circumstances, and the well- 
known predilections of those who made the settlement^ 
it was as much as could be expected. 


The action of the Government must not be considered 
as though they were unfettered in their judgment ; ib 
can never be supposed that they acted as they did 
because they thought such action right or even wise, 
for that would be to set them down as men of a 
very low order of intelligence, which they certainly 
are not. 

It is clear that no set of sensible men, who had after 
much consideration given their decision that under all 
the circumstances the Transvaal must remain British 
territory, and who, on a revolt subsequently breaking 
out in that territory, had declared that Her Majesty's 
rule must be upheld, would have, putting aside all 
other circumstances, deliberately stultified themselves 
by almost unconditionally, and of their own free will, 
abandoning the country, and all Her Majesty's subjects 
living in it. That would be to pay a poor tribute to 
their understanding, since it is clear that if reasons 
existed for retaining the Transvaal before the war, as 
they were satisfied there did, those reasons would exist 
with still greater force after a war had been under- 
taken and three crushing defeats sustained, which if left 
unavenged must, as they knew, have a most disastrous 
effect on our prestige throughout the South African 

I prefer to* believe that the Government was coerced 
into acting as it did by Eadical pressure, both from 
outside and from its immediate supporters in the 
House, and that it had to choose between making an 
unconditional surrender in the Transvaal and losing 
the support of a very powerful party. Under these 
circumstances it, being Liberal in politics, naturally 
followed its instincts, and chose surrender. 


If such a policy was bad in itself, and necessarily 
mischievous in its consequences, so much the worse 
for those who suffered by it; it was clear that the 
Government could not be expected to lose votes in 
order to forward the true interests of countries so far 
off as the South African Colonies, which had had the 
misfortune to be made a party question of, and must 
take the consequences. 

There is no doubt that the interest brought to bear 
on the Government was very considerable, for not only 
had they to deal with their own supporters, and with 
the shadowy caucus that was ready to let the lash of 
its displeasure descend even on the august person of 
Mr. Gladstone, should he show signs of letting slip 
so rich an opportunity for the vindication of the holiest 
principles of advanced Eadicalism, but also with the 
hydra-headed crowd of visionaries and professional 
sentimentalists who swarm in this country, and who 
are always ready to take up any cause, from that of 
Jumbo or of a murderer to that of oppressed peoples, 
such as the Bulgarians or the Transvaal Boers. 

These gentlemen, burning with zeal, and filled with 
that confidence which proverbially results from the 
hasty assimilation of imperfect and erroneous informa- 
tion, found in the Transvaal question a great oppor- 
tunity of making a noise; and — ^as in a disturbed 
farmyard the bray of the domestic donkey, ringing 
loud and clear among the utterances of more intelli- 
gent animals, overwhelms and extinguishes them — so, 
and with like effect, amongst the confused sound of 
various English opinions about the Boer rising, rose 
the trumpet-note of the Transvaal Independence Com- 
mittee and its supporters. 


As we have seen, they did not sound in vain. 

On the 6th of March an armistice with the Boers 
had been entered into by Sir Evelyn Wood, which 
was several times prolonged up to the 21st March, 
when Sir Evelyn Wood concluded a preliminary peace 
with the Boer leaders, which, under certain conditions, 
guaranteed the restoration of the country within six 
months, and left all other points to be decided by a 
Koyal Commission. 

The news of this peace was at first received in the 
colony in the silence of astonishment. Personally, I 
remember, I would not believe that it was true. It 
seemed to us, who had been witnesses of what had 
passed, and knew what it all meant, something so 
utterly incredible that we thought there must be a 

If there had been any one redeeming circumstance 
about it, if the English arms had gained a single 
decisive victory, it might have been so, but it was 
hard for Englishmen, just at first, to understand that 
not only had the Transvaal been to all appearance 
wrested from them by force of arms, but that they 
were henceforth to be subject, as they well knew 
would be the case, to the coarse insults of victorious 
Boers, and the sarcasms of keener- witted Kafirs. 

People ifi England seem to fancy that when men go 
to the colonies they lose all sense of pride in their 
country, and think of nothing but their own advantage. 
I do not think that this is the case, indeed, I believe 
that, individual for individual, there exists a greater 
sense of loyalty, and a deeper pride in their nationality, 
and in the proud name of England, among colonists, 
than among Englishmen proper. Certainly the humili- 


ation of the Transvaal surrender was more keenly felt 
in South Africa than it was at home; but, perhaps, 
the impossibility of imposing upon people in that 
country with the farrago of nonsense about blood- 
guiltiness and national morality, which was made 
such adroit use of at home, may have made the dif- 

I know that personally I would not have believed 
it possible that I could feel any public event so 
keenly as I did this ; indeed, I quickly made up my 
mind that if the peace was confirmed, the neighbour- 
hood of the Transvaal would be no fit or comfortable 
residence for an Englishman, and that I would, 
at any cost, leave the country, — which I accordingly 

Newcastle was a curious sight the night after the 
peace was declared. Every hotel and bar was crowded 
with refugees, who were trying to relieve their feel- 
ings by cursing the name of Gladstone with a vigour, 
originality, and earnestness that I have never heard 
equalled; and declaring in ironical terms how proud 
they were to be citizens of England — a country that 
always kept its word. Then they set to work with 
many demonstrations of contempt to burn the effigy 
of the Eight Honourable Gentleman at the head of 
Her Majesty's Government, an example, by the way, 
that was followed throughout South Africa. 

Even Sir Evelyn Wood, who is very popular in the 
colony, was hissed as he walked through the town, 
and great surprise was expressed that a soldier who 
came out expressly to fight the Boers should consent 
to become the medium of communication in such a 
iirty business. And, indeed, there was some excuse 


for all this bitterness, for the news meant ruin to very 

But if people in Natal and at the Cape received the 
news with astonishment, how shall I describe its effect 
upon the unfortunate loyal inhabitants in the Transvaal, 
on whom it burst like a thunderbolt ? 

They did not say much, however, and indeed there 
was nothing to be said. They simply began to pack up 
such things as they could carry with them, and to leave 
the country, which they well knew would henceforth 
be utterly untenable for Englishmen or English sym- 
pathisers. In a few weeks they come pouring down 
through Newcastle by hundreds ; it was the most 
melancholy exodus that can be imagined. There were 
people of all classes, ojfficials, gentlefolk, work-people, 
and loyal Boers, but they had a connecting link ; they 
had all been loyal, and they were all ruined. 

Most of these people had gone to the Transvaal since 
it became a British colony, and invested all they had 
in it, and now their capital was lost and their labour 
rendered abortive ; indeed, many of them whom one 
had known as well to do in the Transvaal, came down 
to Natal hardly knowing how they would feed their 
families next week. 

It must be understood that so soon as the Queen's 
sovereignty* was withdrawn the value of landed and 
house property in the Transvaal went down to nothing, 
and has remained there ever since. Thus a fair-sized 
house in Pretoria brought in a rental varying from ten 
to twenty pounds a month during British occupation, 
out after the declaration of peace, owners of houses 
were glad to get people to live in them to keep them 
from falling into ruin. Those who owned land or had 


invested money in businesses suffered in the same way ; 
their property remains neither profitable or s^eable, 
and they themselves are precluded by their nationality 
from living on it, the art of "Boycotting" not being 
peculiar to Ireland. 

Nor were they the only sufferers. The officials, many 
of whom had taken to the Government service as a 
permanent profession, in which they expected to pass 
their lives, were suddenly dismissed, mostly with a 
small gratuity, which would about suffice to pay their 
debts, and told to find their living as best they could. 
It was indeed a case of vac victis, — woe to the conquered 

The Commission appointed by Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment consisted of Sir Hercules Robinson, Sir Henry de 
Villiers, and Sir Evelyn Wood, President Brand being 
also present in his capacity of friend of both parties, 
and to their discretion were left the settlement of all 
outstanding questions. Amougst these, were the mode 
of trial of those persons who had been guilty of acts 
contrary to the rules of civilised warfare, the question 

^ The following extract is clipped from a recent issue of the Trans- 
vaal Advertiser. It describes the present condition of Pretoria : — 

" The streets grown over with rank vegetation ; the water-furrows 
uncleaned and unattended, emitting offensive and unhealthy stenches ; 
the houses showing evident signs of dilapidation and decay ; the side 
paths, in many places, dangerous to pedestrians — in fact, everything 
the eye can rest upon indicates the downfall which has overtaken this 
once prosperous city. The visitor can, if he be so minded, betake him- 
self to the outskirts and suburbs, where he will perceive the same sad 
evidences of neglect, public grounds unattended, roads uncared for, mills 
and other public works crumbling into ruin. These palpable signs of 
decay most strongly impress him. A blight seems to have come over 
this lately fair and prosperous town. Rapidly it is becoming a 'deserted 
Tillage,' a 'city of the dead.' " 


of severance of territory from the Transvaal on the 
eastern boundary, the settlement of the boundary in 
the Keate- Award districts, the compensation for losses 
sustained during the war, the functions of the British 
Kesident, and other matters. Their place of meeting 
was at Newcastle in Natal, and from thence they pro- 
ceeded to Pretoria. 

The first question of importance that came before 
the Commission was the mode of trial to be adopted 
in the cases of those persons accused of acts contrary 
to the usages of civilised warfare, such as murder. 
The Attorney-General for the Transvaal strongly ad- 
vised that a special tribunal should be constituted to 
try these cases, principally because " after a civil war 
in which all the inhabitants of a country, with very 
few exceptions, have taken part, a jury of fair and 
impartial men, truly unbiassed, will be very difficult 
to get together." It is satisfactory to know that the 
Commissioners gave this somewhat obvious fact " their 
grave consideration," which, according to their Eeport, 
resulted in their determining to let the cases go before 
the ordinary court, and be tried by a jury, because in 
referring them to a specially constituted court which 
would have done equal justice without fear or favour, 
" the British Government would have made for itself, 
among the Dutch population of South Africa, a name 
for vindictive oppression, which no generosity in other 
affairs could efface." 

There is more in this determination of the Commis- 
sioners, or rather of the majority of them — for Sir E. 
Wood, to his credit be it said, refused to agree in their 
decision — than meets the eye, the fact of the matter 
being that it was privately well known to them, that 


though the Boer leaders might be willing to allow a 
few of the murderers to undergo the form of a trial, 
neither they nor the Boers themselves meant to permit 
the farce to go any further. Had the men been tried 
by a special tribunal they would in all probability 
have been condemned to death, and then would have 
come the awkward question of carrying out the sentence 
on individuals whose deeds were looked on, if not with 
general approval, at any rate without aversion by the 
great mass of their countrymen. In short, it would 
probably have become necessary either to reprieve them 
or to fight the Boers again, since it was very certain 
that they would not have allowed them to be hung. 
Therefore the majority of the Commissioners, finding 
themselves face to face with a dead wall, determined to 
slip round it instead of boldly climbing it, by referring 
the cases to the Transvaal High Court, cheerfully con- 
fident of what the result must be. 

After all, the matter was, much cry about little wool, 
for of all the crimes committed by the Boers — a list of 
some of which will be found in the Appendix to this 
book — ^in only three cases were a proportion of the 
perpetrators produced and put through the form of 
trial Those three were — the dastardly murder of Cap- 
tain Elliot, who was shot by his Boer escort whilst 
crossing the Vaal river on parole; the murder of a 
man named Malcolm, who was kicked to death in his 
own house by Boers, who afterwards put a bullet 
through his head to make the job " look better ; " and 
the murder of a doctor named Barber, who was shot 
by his escort on the border of the Free State. A few 
of the men concerned in the first two of these crimes 
were tried in Pretoria; and it was currently reported 


at that time, that in order to make their acquittal 
certain our Attorney-General received instructions not 
to exercise his right of challenging jurors on behalf 
of the Crown. Whether or not this is true I am not 
prepared to say, but I believe it is a fact that he did 
not exercise that right, though the counsel for the 
prisoners availed themselves of it freely, with the 
result that in Elliot's case, the jury was composed of 
eight Boers and one German, nine being the full South 
African jury. The necessary result followed ; in both 
cases the prisoners were acquitted in the teeth of the 
evidence. Barber's murderers were tried in the Free 
State, and were, as might be expected, acquitted. 

Thus it will be seen that of all the perpetrators of 
murder and other crimes during the course of the war 
not one was brought to justice. 

The offence for which their victims died was, in 
nearly every case, that they had served, were serving, 
or were loyal to Her Majesty the Queen. In no single 
case has England exacted retribution for the murder 
of her servants and citizens ; but nobody can read 
through the long list of these dastardly slaughters 
without feeling that they will not go unavenged. The 
innocent blood that has been shed on behalf of this 
country, and the tears of children and widows, now 
appeal to a higher tribunal than that of Mr. Glad- 
stone's Government, and assuredly they will not appeal 
in vain. 

The next point of importance dealt with by the 
Commission was the question whether or no any 
territory should be severed from the Transvaal, and 
kept under English rule for the benefit of the native 
inhabitants. Lord Kimberley, acting under pressure 


put upon him by members of the Aborigines l*rotection 
Society, instructed the Commission to consider the 
advisability of severing the districts of Lydenburg and 
Zoutpansberg, and also a strip of territory bordering 
on Zululand and Swaziland, from the Transvaal, so 
as to place the inhabitants of the first two districts 
out of danger of maltreatment by the Boers, and to 
interpose a buffer between Zulus, and Swazis, and Boer 
aggression, and vice versd. 

The Boer leaders had, it must be remembered, ac- 
quiesced in the principle of such a separation in the 
preliminary peace signed by Sir Evelyn "W004 and 
themselves. The majority of the Commission, however 
(Sir Evelyn Wood dissenting), finally decided against 
the retention of either of these districts, a decision 
which, I think, was a wise one, though I arrive at that 
conclusion on very different grounds to those adopted 
by the majority of the Commission. 

Personally, I cannot see that it is the duty of 
England to play policeman to the whole world. To 
have retained these native districts would have been 
to make ourselves responsible for their good govern- 
ment, and to have guaranteed them against Boer 
encroachment, which I do not think that we were 
called upon to do. It is surely not incumbent upon 
us, having given up the Transvaal to the Boers, to 
undertake the management of the most troublesome 
part of it, the Zulu border. Besides, bad as the 
abandonment of the Transvaal is, I think that if 
it was to be done at all, it was best to do it 
thoroughly, since to have kept some natives under 
our protection, and to have handed over the rest to 
the tender mercies of the Boers, would only be to 


render our injustice more obvious, whilst weakening 
the power of the natives themselves to combine in 
self-defence, since those under our protection would 
naturally have little sympathy with their more un- 
fortunate brethren — ^their interests and circumstances 
being different. 

The Commission do not seem to have considered the 
question from these points of view ; but putting them 
on one side, there are many other considerations con- 
nected with it which are ably summed up in their 
Keport. Amongst these is the danger of disturb- 
ances commenced between Zulus or Swazis and Boers 
spreading into Natal, and the probability of the 
fomenting of disturbances amongst the Zulus by 
Boers. The great argument for the retention of 
some territory, if only as a symbol that the English 
had not been driven out of the country, is, however, 
set forth in the forty-sixth paragraph of the Keport, 
which runs as follows : — " The moral considerations 
that determine the actions of civilised governments 
are not easily understood by barbarians, in whose 
eyes successful force is alone the sign of superiority, 
and it appeared possible that the surrender by the 
British Crown of one of its possessions to those who 
had been in %rms against it, might be looked upon 
by the natives in no other way than as a token of 
the defeat and decay of the British power, and that 
thus a serious shock might be given to British 
authority in South Africa, and the capacity of Great 
Britain to govern and direct the vast native popula- 
tion within and without her South African dominions 
*— a capacity resting largely on the renown of her name 
—might be dangerously impaired." 


These words, coming from so unexpected a source, 
do not, though couched in such mild language, hide 
the startling importance of the question discussed. 
On the contrary, they accurately and with double 
weight convey the sense and gist of the most damning 
argument against the policy of the retrocession of the 
Transvaal in its entirety; and proceeding from their 
own carefully chosen Commissioners, can hardly have 
been pleasant reading to Lord Kimberley and his col- 

The majority of the Commission then proceeds to 
set forth the arguments advanced by the Boers against 
the retention of any territory, which appear to have 
been chiefly of a sentimental character, since we are 
informed that "the people, it seemed certain, would 
not have valued the restoration of a mutilated country. 
Sentiment in a great measure had led them to insur- 
rection, and the force of such it was impossible to dis- 
regard." Sir Evelyn Wood, in his dissent, states that he 
cannot even agree with the premises of his colleagues* 
argument, since he is convinced that it was not senti- 
ment that had led to the outbreak, but a " general and 
rooted aversion to taxation." If he had added, and 
a hatred not only of English rule, but of all rule, he 
would have stated the complete cause of the Transvaal 
rebellion. In the next paragraph of the Eeport, how- 
ever, we find the real cause of the pliability of the 
Commission in the matter, which is the same that 
influenced them in their decision about the mode of 
trial of the murderers and other questions — they feared 
that the people would appeal to arms if they decided 
against their wishes. 

Discreditable and disgraceful as it may seem, nobody 


can read this Eeport without plainly seeing that the 
Commissioners were, in treating with the Boers on 
these points, in the position of ambassadors from a 
beaten people getting the best terms they could. Of 
course, they well knew that this was not the case 
but whatever the Boer leaders may have said, the 
Boers themselves did not know this, or even pretend 
to look at the matter in any other light When we 
asked for the country back, said they, we did not get 
it ; after we had three times defeated the English we 
did get it ; the logical conclusion from the facts being 
that we got it because we defeated the English. This 
was their tone, and it is not therefore surprising that 
whenever the Commission threatened to decide any- 
thing against them, they, with a smile, let it know that- 
if it did, they would be under the painful necessity 
of re-occupying Lang*s Nek. It was never necessary 
to repeat the threat, since the majority of the Com- 
mission would thereupon speedily find a way to meet 
the views of the Boer representatives. 

Sir Evelyn Wood, in his dissent, thus correctly 
sums up the matter: — "To contend that the Koyal 
Commission ought not to decide contrary to the wishes- 
of the Boers, because such decision might not be 
accepted, is to deny to the Commission the very power 
of decision that it was agreed should be left in its 
hands." Exactly so. But it is evident that the Com- 
mission knew its place, and so far from attempting to 
exercise any " power of decision," it was quite content 
with such concessions as it could obtain by means of 
bargaining. Thus, as an additional reason against 
the retention of any territory, it is urged that if this 
territory was retained ** the majority of your Commia- 


sioners . . . would have found themselves in no favour- 
able position for obtaining the concurrence of the Boer 
leaders as to other matters." In fact, Her Majesty's 
Commission, appointed, or supposed to be appointed, 
to do Her Majesty's will and pleasure, shook in its 
shoes before men who had lately been rebels in arms 
against her authority, and humbly submitted itself to 
their dicta. 

The majority of the Commission went on to express 
their opinion, that by giving way about the retention 
of territory they would be able to obtain better terms 
for the natives generally, and larger powers for the 
British Eesident. But, as Sir Evelyn Wood points 
out in his Report, they did nothing of the sort, the 
terms of the agreement about the Resident and other 
native matters being all consequent on and included 
in the first agreement of peace. Besides, they seem 
to have overlooked the fact that such concessions as 
they did obtain are only on paper, and practically 
worthless, whilst all hond fide advantages remained 
with the Boers. 

The decision of the Commissioners in the question 
of the Keate Award, which next came under their 
consideration, appears to have been a judicious one, 
being founded on the very careful Report of Colonel 
Moysey, R.E., who had been for many months collect- 
ing information on the spot. The Keate Award Terri- 
tory is a region lying to the south-west of the Transvaal, 
and was, like many other districts in that country, 
originally in the possession of natives of the Baralong 
and Batlapin tribes. Individual Boers having, however, 
more suo taken possession of tracts of land in the dis- 
trict, difficulties speedily arose between their Govern- 


ment and the native chiefs, and in 1871 Mr. Keate, 
Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, was by mutual consent 
called in to arbitrate on the matter. His decision was 
entirely in favour of the natives, and was accordingly 
promptly and characteristically repudiated by the Boer 
Volksraad. From that time till the rebellion the ques- 
tion remained unsettled, and was indeed a very thorny 
one to deal with. The Commission, acting on the prin- 
ciple in medio tutissimvs ibis, drew a line through the 
midst of the disputed territory, or, in other words, set 
aside Mr. Keate's award, and interpreted the dispute in 
favour of the Boers. 

This decision was accepted by all parties at the 
time, but it has not resulted in the maintenance of 
peace. The principal chief, Montsioa, is an old ally 
and staunch friend of the English, a fact which the 
Boers are not able to forget or forgive, and they 
appear to have stirred up rival chiefs to attack him, 
and to have allowed volunteers from the Transvaal 
to assist them. Montsioa has also enlisted some 
white volunteers, and several fights have taken place, 
in which the loss of life has been considerable. 
Whether or no the Transvaal Government is directly 
concerned it is impossible to say, but from the fact 
that cannon are said to have been used against 
Montsioa it would appear that it is, since private in- 
dividuals do not, as a rule, own Armstrong guns.* 

Amongst the questions remaining for the consider- 
ation of the Commissioners was that of what com- 
pensation should be given for losses during the war. 

* I beg to refer any reader interested in this matter to the letter 
of " Transvaal " to the Standard^ whi«h I have republished in the 

A.DDendix to this book. 



Of course, the great bulk of the losses sustained were 
of an indirect nature, resulting from the necessary 
and enormous depreciation in the value of land and 
other property, consequent on the retrocession. Into 
this matter the Home Government declined to enter, 
thereby saving its pocket at the price of its honour, 
since it was upon English guarantees that the country 
would remain a British possession that the majority 
of the unfortunate loyals invested their money in it. 
It was, however, agreed by the Commission (Sir H. 
de Villiers dissenting) that the Boers should be 
liable for compensation in cases where loss had been 
sustained through commandeering seizure, confisca- 
tion, destruction, or damage of property. The sums 
awarded under these heads have already amounted 
to about £i 10,000, which sum has been defrayed by 
the Imperial Government, the Boer authorities stating 
that they were not in a position to pay it. 

In connection with this matter I will pass to the 
financial clauses of the Keport. When the country 
was annexed, the public debt amounted to ;f 30 1,727. 
Under British rule this debt was liquidated to the 
extent of jfi 50,000, but the total was brought up 
by a Parliamentary grant, a loan from the Standard 
Bank, and sundries to ;g' 390,404, which represented 
the public debt of the Transvaal on the 31st December 
1880. This was further increased by moneys advanced 
by the Standard Bank and English Exchequer during 
the war, and till the 8th August 1881, during which 
time the country yielded no revenue, to ;f 457,393. 
To this must be added an estimated sum of ;6^200,ooo 
for compensation charges, pension allowances, &c., and 
a further sum of ;£'383,ooo, the cost of the successful 


expedition against Secocoeni, that of the unsuccessful 
one being left out of account, bringing up the total 
public debt to over a million, of which about ;f 800,000 
is owing to this country. 

This sum, with the characteristic liberality that 
distinguished them in their dealings with the Boers, 
but which was not so marked where loyals were con- 
cerned, the Commissioners (Sir Evelyn Wood dissent- 
ing) reduced by a stroke of the pen to ^^ 265,000, thus 
entirely remitting an approximate sum of ;f 500,000, 
or ;f 600,000. To the sum of ;f 265,000 still owing 
must be added say another ;fi 50,000 for sums lately 
advanced to pay the compensation claims, bringing 
up the actual amount now owing to England to 
something under half a million, of which I say with 
confidence she will never see a single ;^ 10,000. As 
this contingency was not contemplated, or if contem- 
plated, not alluded to by the Koyal Commission, pro- 
vision was made for a Sinking Fund, by means of which 
the debt, which is a second charge on the revenues 
of the States, is to be extinguished in twenty-five 

It is a strange instance of the proverbial irony of 
fate, that whilst the representatives of the Imperial 
Government ^^ere thus showering gifts of hundreds 
of thousands of pounds upon men who had spurned 
the benefits of Her Majesty's rule, made war upon 
her forces, and murdered her subjects, no such con- 
sideration was extended to those who had remained 
loyal to her throne. Their claims for compensation 
were passed by unheeded ; and looking from the win- 
dows of the room in which they sat in Newcastle, 
the members of the Commission might have seen 


them flocking down from a country that could no 
longer be their home ; those that were rich among 
tliem made poor, and those that were poor reduced 
to destitution. 

The only other point which it will be necessary 
for me to touch on in connection with this Report 
is the duties of the British Resident and his rela- 
tions to the natives. He was to be invested as repre- 
sentative of the Suzerain with functions for securing 
the execution of the terms of peace as regards — (i) 
the control of the foreign relations of the State; (2) 
the control of the frontier affairs of the State; and 
(3) the protection of the interests of the natives in 
the State. 

As regards the first of these points, it was arranged 
that the interests of subjects of the Transvaal should 
be left in the hands of Her Majesty's representatives 
abroad. Since Boers are, of all people in the worlds 
the most stay-at-home, our ambassadors and consuls 
are not likely to be troubled much on their account 
With reference to the second point, the Commission 
made stipulations that would be admirable if there 
were any probability of their being acted up to. The 
Resident is to report any encroachment on native 
territory by Boers to the High Commissioner, and 
when the Resident and the Boer Government differ, 
the decision of the Suzerain is to be final. This is 
a charming way of settling difficulties, but the Com- 
mission forgets to specify how the Suzerain's decision 
is to be enforced. After what has happened, it can 
hardly have relied on awe of the name of England to 
bring about the desired obedience ! 

But besides thus using his beneficent authority to 


prevent subjects of the Transvaal from trespassing on 
their neighbour's land, the Eesident is to exercise a 
general supervision over the interests of all the natives 
in the country. Considering that they number about 
a million, and are scattered over a territory larger than 
France, one would think that this duty alone would 
have taken up the time of any ordinary man ; and, 
indeed, Sir Evelyn Wood was in favour of the appoint- 
ment of sub-residents to assist him. The majority of 
the Commission refused, however, to listen to any 
Buch suggestion — believing, they said, " that the least 
possible interference with the independent Government 
of the State would be the wisest." Quite so, but I sup- 
pose it never occurred to them to ask the natives what 
their views of the matter were ! The Eesident was 
also to be a member of a Native Location Commission, 
which was at some future time to provide land for the 
natives to live on. 

In perusing this Report it is easy to follow with 
more or less accuracy the individual bent of its 
framers. Sir Hercules Robinson figures throughout 
as a man who has got a disagreeable business to 
carry out, in obedience to instructions that admit of 
no trifling with, and who has set himself to do the 
best he can for his country, and those who suffer 
through his* country's policy, whilst obeying those 
instructions. He has evidently choked down his 
feelings and opinions as an individual, and turned 
himself into an official machine, merely registering 
in detail the will of Lord Kimberley. With Sir 
Henry de Villiers the case is very different. One 
feels throughout that the task is to him a congenial 
one« and that the Boer cause has in him an excellent 


friend. Indeed, had he been an advocate of their 
cause instead of a member of the Commission, he 
could not have espoused their side on every occa- 
sion with greater zeaL According to him they were 
always in the right, and in them he could find no 
guile. Mr. Hofmeyer and President Brand exercised 
a wise discretion from their own point of view 
when they urged his appointment as Special Com- 
missioner. I now come to Sir Evelyn Wood, who 
was in the position of an independent Englishman, 
neither prejudiced in favour of the Boers, or the 
reverse, and on whom, as a military man. Lord 
Kimberley would find it difficult to put the official 
screw. The results of his happy position are obvious 
in the paper attached to the end of the Eeport, and 
signed by him, in which he totally and entirely 
differs from the majority of the Commission on 
every point of any importance. Most people will 
think that this very outspoken and forcible dissent 
deducts somewhat from the value of the Eeport, and 
throws a shadow of doubt on the wisdom of its pro- 

The formal document of agreement between Her 
Majesty's Government and the Boer leaders, com- 
monly known as the Convention, was signed by both 
parties at Pretoria on the afternoon of the 3d August 
1 88 1, in the same room in which, nearly four years 
before, the Annexation Proclamation was signed by 
Sir T. Shepstone. 

Whilst this business was being transacted in Govern- 
ment House, a curious ceremony was going on just 
outside, and within sight of the windows. This was 
the ceremonious burial of the Union Jack, which was 


followed to the grave by a crowd of about 2000 loyalists 
and native chiefs. On the outside of the coffin was 
written the word " Kesurgam," and an eloquent oration 
was delivered over the grave. Such demonstrations 
are, no doubt, foolish enough, but they are not entirely 
without political significance. 

But a more unpleasant duty awaited the Commis- 
sioners than that of attaching their signatures to a 
document, — consisting of the necessity of conveying 
Her Majesty's decision as to the retrocession to about 
a hundred native chiefs, until now Her Majesty's sub- 
jects, who had been gathered together to hear it. It 
must be borne in mind that the natives had not been 
consulted as to the disposal of the country, although 
they outnumber the white people in the proportion 
of twenty to one, and that, beyond some worthless 
paper stipulations, nothing had been done for their 

Personally, I must plead guilty to what I know is 
by many, especially by those who are attached to 
the Boer cause, considered as folly, if not worse, 
namely, a sufficient interest in the natives, and 
sympathy with their sufferings, to bring me to the 
conclusion that in acting thus we have inflicted a 
cruel injustice upon them. It seems to me, that as 
they were tlie original owners of the soil, they were 
entitled to some consideration in the question of ita 
disposal, and consequently and incidentally, of their 
own. I am aware that it is generally considered 
that the white man has a right to the black man's 
possessions and land, and that it is his high and holy 
mission to exterminate the wretched native and take 
his place. But with this conclusion I venture to 


differ. So far as my own experience of natives has 
gone, I have found that in all the essential qualities 
of mind and body they very much resemble white 
men, with the exception that they are, as a race, 
quicker-witted, more honest, and braver than the 
ordinary run of white men. Of them might be aptly 
quoted the speech Shakespeare puts into Shylock's 
mouth: "Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew 
hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, pas- 
sions ? " In the same way I ask. Has a native no 
feelings or affections ? does he not suffer when his 
parents are shot, or his children stolen, or when he 
is driven a wanderer from his home? Does he not 
know fear, feel pain, affection, hate, and gratitude? 
Most certainly he does; and this being so, I cannot 
believe that the Almighty, who made both white 
nnd black, gave to the one race the right or mission 
of exterminating or even of robbing or maltreating 
the other, and calling the process the advance of 
civilisation. It seems to me, that on only one con- 
dition, if at all, have we the right to take the black 
men's land; and that is, that we provide them with 
an equal and a just Government, and allow no mal- 
treatment of them, either as individuals or tribes, 
but, on the contrary, do our best to elevate them, 
and wean them from savage customs. Otherwise, the 
practice is surely undefensible. 

I am aware, however, that with the exception of a 
small class, these are sentiments which are not shared 
by the great majority of the public, either at home 
or abroad. Indeed, it can be plainly seen how little 
sympathy they command, from the fact that but scanty 
remonstrance was raised at the treatment meted out 


to our native subjects in the Transvaal, when they 
were, to the number of nearly a million, handed over 
from the peace, justice, and security that on the whole 
characterise our rule, to a state of things and possi- 
bilities of wrong and suffering which I will not try 
to describa 

To the chiefs thus assembled Sir Hercules Robinson, 
as President of the Royal Commission, read a state- 
ment, and then retired, refusing to allow them to speak 
in answer. The statement informed the natives that 
" Her Majesty's Government, with that sense of justice 
which befits a great and powerful nation," had returned 
the country to the Boers, " whose representatives, 
Messrs. Kruger, Pretorius, and Joubert, I now," said 
Sir Hercules, "have much pleasure in introducing to 
you." If reports are true, the native chiefs had, 
many of them personally, and all of them by reputa- 
tion, already the advantage of a very intimate acquaint- 
ance with all three of these gentlemen, so that an 
introduction was somewhat superfluous. 

Sir Hercules then went on to explain to them that 
locations would be allotted to them at some future 
time ; that a British Resident would be appointed, 
whose especial charge they would be, but that they 
must bear ifi mind that he was not ruler of the 
country, but the Government, " subject to Her Majesty's 
suzerain rights." Natives were, no doubt, expected to 
know by intuition what suzerain rights are. The state- 
ment then goes on to give them good advice as to the 
advantages of indulging in manual labour when asked 
to do so by the Boers, and generally to show them how 
bright and happy is the future that lies before them. 
Lest they should be too elated by such good tidings, 


they are, however, reminded that it will be necessary 
to retain the law relating to passes, which is, in the 
hands of a people like the Boers, about as unjust a 
regulation as a dominant race can invent for the 
oppression of a subject people, and had, in the old 
days of the Republic, been productive of much hard- 
ship. The statement winds up by assuring them that 
their "interests will never be forgotten or neglected 
by Her Majesty's Government." Having read the 
document the Commission hastily withdrew, and after 
their withdrawal the chiefs were "allowed" to state 
their opinions to the Secretary for Native Affairs. 

In availing themselves of this permission, it is notice- 
able that no allusion was made to all the advantages 
they were to reap under the Convention, nor did they 
seem to attach much importance to the appointment 
of the British Resident. On the contrary, all their 
attention was given to the great fact that the country 
had been ceded to the Boers, and that they were no 
longer the Queen's subjects. We are told, in Mr. 
Shepstone's Report, that they " got very excited," and 
" asked whether it was thought that they had no 
feelings or hearts, that they were thus treated as a 
stick or piece of tobacco, which could be passed from 
hand to hand without question." Umgombarie, a 
Zoutpansberg chief, said : " I am Umgombarie. I have 
fought with the Boers, and have many wounds, and 
they know that what I say is true. ... I will never 
consent to place myself under their rule. I belong 
to the English Government I am not a man who 
eats with both sides of his jaw at once; I only use 
one side. I am English, I have said." Silamba said : 
" I belong to the English. I will never return under 


the Boers. You see me, a man of my rank and posi- 
tion ; is it right that such as I should be seized and 
laid on the ground and flogged, as has been done to 
lae and other chiefs ? " 

Sinkanhla said : " We hear and yet do not hear, 
we cannot understand. We are troubling you, Chief, 
by talking in this way ; we hear the chiefs say that 
the Queen took the country because the people of the 
country wished it, and again that the majority of the 
owners of the country did not wish their rule, and 
that therefore the country was given back. We should 
like to have the man pointed out from among us black 
people who objects to the rule of the Queen. We are 
the real owners of the country ; we were here when 
the Boers came, and without asking leave, settled 
down and treated us in every way badly. The English 
Government then came and took the country ; we 
have now had four years of rest and peaceful and just 
rule. We have been called here to-day, and are told 
that the country, our country, has been given to the 
Boers by the Queen. This is a thing which surprises 
us. Did the country, then, belong to the Boers ? Did 
it not belong to our fathers and forefathers before us, 
long before the Boers came here ? We have heard 
that the Boera' country is at the Cape. If the Queen 
wishes to give them their land, why does she not give 
them back the Cape ? " 

I have quoted this speech at length, because, although 
made by a despised native, it sets forth their case more 
powerfully and in happier language than I can do. 

Umyethile said : " We have no heart for talking. 
I have returned to the country from Sechelis, where 
I had to fly from Boer oppression. Our hearts are 


black and heavy with grief to-day at the news told 
us, we are in agony, our intestines are twisting and 
writhing inside of us, just as you see a snake do when 
it is struck on the head. . . . We do not know what 
has become of us, but we feel dead ; it may be that 
the Lord may change the nature of the Boers, and that 
we will not be treated like dogs and beasts of burden 
as formerly, but we have no hope of such a change, 
and we leave you with heavy hearts and great appre- 
hension as to the future." In his Eeport, Mr. Shep- 
stone (the Secretary for Native Affairs) says: "One 
chief, Jan Sibilo, who has been, he informed me, 
personally threatened with death by the Boers after 
the English leave, could not restrain his feelings, but 
cried like a child." 

I have nothing to add to these extracts, which are 
taken from many such statements. They are the very 
words of the persons most concerned, and will speak 
for themselves. 

The Convention was signed on the 3d August 1881, 
and was to be formally ratified by a Volksraad or 
Parliament of the Burghers within three months of 
that date, in default of which it was to fall to the 
ground and become null and void. 

Anybody who has followed the course of afifairs 
with reference to the retrocession of the Transvaal, 
or who has even taken the trouble to read through 
this brief history, will probably come to the conclusion 
that, under all the circumstances, the Boers had got 
more than they could reasonably expect. Not so, 
however, the Boers themselves. On the 28th Sep- 
tember the newly-elected Volksraad referred the Con- 
vention to a General Committee to report on, and on 


the 30th September the Keport was presented. On 
the 3d October a telegram was despatched through the 
British Eesident to " His Excellency W. E. Gladstone,** 
in which the Volksraad states that the Convention 
is not acceptable — 

(i.) Because it is in conflict with the Sand Kiver 
Treaty of 1852. 

(2.) Because it violates the peace agreement entered 
into with Sir Evelyn Wood, in confidence of which the 
Boers laid down their arms. 

The Volksraad consequently declared that modifica- 
tions were desirable, and that certain articles must be 

To begin with, they declare that the " conduct of 
foreign relations does not appertain to the Suzerain, 
only supervision," and that the articles bearing on 
these points must consequently be modified. They 
next attack the native question, stating that "the 
Suzerain has not the right to interfere with our 
Legislature," and state that they cannot agree to 
Article 3, which gives the Suzerain a right of veto 
on Legislation connected with the natives ; to Article 
1 3, by virtue of which natives are to be allowed to 
acquire land; and to the last part of Article 26, by 
which it is provided that whites of alien race living 
in the Transvaal shall not be taxed in excess of the 
taxes imposed on Transvaal citizens. 

They further declare that it is infra dignitatem 
for the President of the Transvaal to be a member 
of a Commission. This refers to the Native Location 
Commission, on which he is, in the terms of the Con- 
vention, to sit, together with the British Resident, and 
a third person jointly appointed. 


They next declare that the amount of the debt foi 
which the Commission has made them liable should 
be modified. Considering that England had already 
made them a present of from ;f 600,000 to ;^8oo,ooo, 
this a most barefaced demand. Finally, they state 
that "Articles 15, 16, 26, and 27 are superfluous, 
and only calculated to wound our sense of honour " 

Article 1 5 enacts that no slavery or apprenticeship 
shall be tolerated. 

Article 16 provides for religious toleration. 

Article 26 provides for the free movement, trading, 
and residence of all persons, other than natives, con- 
forming themselves to the laws of the Transvaal. 

Article 27 gives to all the right of free access to the 
Courts of Justice. 

Putting the " sense of honour " of the Transvaal 
Volksraad out of the question, past experience has 
but too plainly proved that these Articles are by no 
means superfluous. 

In reply to this message, Sir Hercules Kobinson 
telegraphs to the British Eesident on the 21st October 
in the following words : — 

"Having forwarded Volksraad Kesolution of 15th 
to Earl of Kimberley, I am desired to instruct you in 
reply to repeat to the Triumvirate that Her Majesty's 
Government cannot entertain any proposals for a modi- 
fication of the Convention untU after it has been rati- 
fied, and the necessity for further concession proved 
by experience." 

I wish to draw particular attention to the last part 
of this message, which is extremely typical of the 
line of policy adopted throughout in the Transvaal 


business. The English Government dared not make 
any further concession to the Boers, because they felt 
that they had already strained the temper of the country 
almost to breaking in the matter. On the other hand, 
they were afraid that if they did not do something, the 
Boers would tear up the Convention, and they would find 
themselves face to face with the old difficulty. Under 
these circumstances, they have fallen back upon their 
temporising and un-English policy, which leaves them 
a back-door to escape through, whatever turn things 
take. Should the Boers now suddenly turn round and 
declare, which is extremely probable, that they re- 
pudiate their debt to us, or that they are sick of the 
presence of a British Kesident, the Government will 
be able to announce that "the necessity for further 
concession" has now been "proved by experience," 
and thus escape the difficulty. In short, this tele- 
gram has deprived the Convention of whatever final- 
ity it may have possessed, and made it, as a document, 
as worthless as it is as a practical settlement. That 
this is the view taken of it by the Boers themselves, 
is proved by the text of the Eatification which followed 
on the receipt of this telegram. 

The tone of this document throughout is, in my 
opinion, considering from whom it came, and against 
whom it is directed, very insolent. And it amply 
confirms what I have previously said, that the Boers 
looked upon themselves as a victorious people making 
terms with those they have conquered. The Ratifica- 
tion leads off thus: "The Volksraad is not satisfied 
with this Convention, and considers that the members 
of the Triumvirate performed a fervent act of love for 
the Fatherland when they upon their own responsibility 


signed such an unsatisfactory state document." This 
is damning with faint praise indeed. It then goes on 
to recite the various points of objection, stating chat 
the answers from the English Government proved that 
they were well founded. " The English Government," 
it says, "acknowledges indirectly by this answer (the 
telegram of 21st October, quoted above) that the 
difficulties raised by the Volksraad are neither fictitious 
nor unfounded, inasmuch as it desires from its the con- 
cession that we, the Volksraad, shall submit it to a 
practical test." It will be observed that England is 
here represented as begging the favour of a trial of her 
conditions from the Volksraad of the Transvaal Boers. 
The Eatification is in these words: "Therefore is it 
that the Eaad here unanimously resolves not to go into 
further discussion of the Convention, and maintaining 
all objections to the Convention as made before the Eoyal 
Commission or stated in the Eaad, and for the purpose 
of showing to everybody that the love of peace and 
unity inspires it, for the time and provisionally sub- 
mitting the articles of the Convention to a practical 
test, hereby complying with the request of the English 
Government contained in the telegram of the 13 th 
October 1881, proceeds to ratify the Convention." 

It would have been interesting to have seen how 
such a Eatification as this, which is no Eatification but 
an insult, would have been accepted by Lord Beacons- 
field. I think that within twenty-four hours of its 
arrival in Downing Street, the Boer Volksraad would 
have received a startling answer. But Lord Beaconsfield 
is dead, and by his successor it was received with all 
due thankfulness and humility. His words, however, 
on this subject still remain to us, and even his great 


rival might have done well to listen to them. It was 
in the course of what was, I believe, the last speech 
he made in the House of Lords, that speaking about 
the Transvaal rising, he warned the Government that 
it was a very dangerous thing to make peace with 
rebellious subjects in arms against the authority of the 
Queen. The warning passed unheeded, and the peace 
was made in the way I have described. 

As regards the Convention itself, it will be obvious 
to the reader that the Boers have not any intention of 
acting up to its provisions, mild as they are, if they 
can possibly avoid them, whilst, on the other hand, 
there is no force at hand to punish their disregard or 
breach. It is all very well to create a Eesident with 
extensive powers ; but how is he to enforce his deci- 
sions ? What is he to do if his awards are laughed at 
and made a mockery of, as they are and will be ? The 
position of Mr. Hudson at Pretoria is even worse than 
that of Mr. Osborn in Zululand. For instance, the 
Convention specifies in the first article that the Trans- 
vaal is to be known as the Transvaal State. The 
Boer Government have, however, thought fit to adopt 
the name of " South African Eepublic " in all public 
documents. Mr. Hudson was accordingly directed to 
remonstrate, which he did in a feeble way ; his remon- 
strance was politely acknowledged, but the country is 
still officially called the South African Eepublic, the 
Convention and Mr. Hudson's remonstrance notwith- 
standing. Mr. Hudson, however, appears to be better 
suited to the position than would have been the case 
had an Englishman, pure and simple, been appointed, 
since it is evident that things that would have struck 
tK'A latter as insults to the Queen he represented, 



and his country generally, are not so understood by 
him. In fact, he admirably represents his ofi&cial 
superiors in his capacity of swallowing rebuffs, and 
when smitten on one cheek delightedly offering the 

Thus we find him attending a Boer meeting of thanks- 
giving for the success that had waited on their arms 
and the recognition of their independence, where most 
people will consider he was out of place. To this 
meeting, thus graced by his presence, an address was 
presented by a branch of the Africander Bond, a 
powerful institution, having for its object the total 
uprootal of English rule and English customs in South 
Africa, to which he must have listened with pleasure. 
In it he, in common with other members of the meeting, 
is informed that "you took up the sword and struck 
the Briton with such force " that " the Britons through 
fear revived that sense of justice to which they could not 
be brought by petitions," and that the "day will soon 
come that we shall enter with you on one arena for 
the entire independence of South Africa," t.«., independ- 
ence from English rule. 

On the following day the Gk)vemment gave a dinner, 
to which all those who had done good service during 
the late hostilities were invited, the British Eesident 
being apparently the only Englishman asked. Amongst 
the other celebrities present I notice the name of Buskes. 
This man, who is an educated Hollander, was the 
moving spirit of the Potchefstroom atrocities; indeed, 
so dark is his reputation that the Eoyal Commission 
refused to transact business with him, or to admit him 
to their presence. Mr. Hudson was not so particular. 
And now comes the most extraordinary part of the 


episode. At the dinner it was necessary that the 
health of Her Majesty as Suzerain should be proposed, 
ind with studied insolence this was done last of all 
the leading political toasts, and immediately after that 
of the Triumvirate. Notwithstanding this fact, and 
that the toast was couched by Mr. Joubert, who stated 
that " he would not attempt to explain what a Suzerain 
was," in what appear to be semi-ironical terms, we find 
that Mr. Hudson " begged to tender his thanks to the 
Honourable Mr. Joubert for the kind way in which he 
proposed the toast." 

It may please Mr. Hudson to see the name of the 
Queen thus metaphorically dragged in triumph at the 
chariot wheels of the Triumvirate, but it is satisfac- 
Jbry to know that the spectacle is not appreciated in 
England : since, on a question in the House of Lords, 
by the Earl of Carnarvon, who characterised it as a 
deliberate insult. Lord Kimberley replied that the 
British Eesident had been instructed that in future he 
was not to attend public demonstrations unless he had 
previously informed himself that the name of Her 
Majesty would be treated with proper respect Let us 
hope that this official reprimand will have its effect, 
and that Mr. Hudson will learn therefrom that there 
is such a thing as trop de zSle — even in a good cause^ 

The Convention is now a thing of the past, the 
appropriate rewards have been lavishly distributed to 
its framers, and President Brand has at last prevailed 
upon the Volksraad of the Orange Free State to allow 
him to become a Knight Grand Cross of Saint Michael 
and Saint Greorge, — the same prize looked forward to 
by our most distinguished public servants at the close 
of the devotion of their life to the service of their 


country. But its results are yet to come— though it 
would be difficult to forecast the details of their 
development. One thing, however, is clear : the signing 
of that document signalised an entirely new departure 
in South African affairs, and brought us within a 
measurable distance of the abandonment, for the pre- 
sent at any rate, of the supremacy of English rule in 
South Africa. 

This is the larger issue of the matter, and it is 
already bearing fruit. Emboldened by their success 
in the Transvaal, the Dutch party at the Cape are 
demanding, and the demand is to be granted, that 
the Dutch tongue be SLdmitted pari passu with English, 
as the official language in the Law Courts and the 
House of Assembly. When a country thus consents 
to use a foreign tongue equally with its own, it is a 
sure sign that those who speak it are rising to power. 
But *' tiie Party " looks higher than this, and openly 
aims at throwing off English rule altogether, and 
declaring South Africa a great Dutch republic. The 
course of events is favourable to their aspiration. 
Responsible (Government is to be granted to Natal, 
which country, not being strong enough to stand alone 
in the face of the many dangers that surround her, 
will be driven into the arms of the Dutch party to 
save herself from destruction. It will be useless for 
her to look for' help from England, and any feelings 
of repugnance she may feel to Boer rule will soon be 
choked by necessity, and a mutual interest It is, 
however, possible that some unforeseen event, such 
as the advent to power of a strong Conservative 
Ministry, may check the tide that now sets so strongly 
in favour of Dutch supremacy. 


It seems to me, however, to be a question worthy 
of the consideration of those who at present direct 
the destinies of the Empire, whether it would not 
be wise, as they have gone so far, to go a little further 
and favour a scheme for the total abandonment of 
South Africa, retaining only Table Bay. If they do 
not, it is now quite within the bounds of sober possi- 
bility that they may one day have to face a fresh 
Transvaal rebellion, only on a ten times larger scale, 
and might find it difl&cult to retain even Table Bay. 
If, on the other hand, they do, I believe that all the 
White States in South Africa would confederate of 
their own free-will, under the pressure of the necessity 
for common action, and the Dutch element being pre- 
ponderant, at once set to work to exterminate the 
natives on general principles, in much the same way, 
and from much the same motives that a cook exter- 
minates black beetles, because she thinks them ugly, 
and to clear the kitchen. 

I need hardly say that such a policy is not one 
that commands my sympathy, but Her Majesty's 
Government having put their hand to the plough, 
it is worth their while to consider it. It would at 
any rate be in perfect accordance with their declared 
sentiments, and command an enthusiastic support from 
their followers. 

As regards the smaller and more immediate issue 
of the retrocession, namely, its effect on the Transvaal 
itself, it cannot be other than evil. The act is, I 
believe, quite without precedent in our history, and 
it is difficult to see, looking at it from those high 
grounds of national morality assumed by the Govern- 
ment, what greater arguments can be advanced in its 


favotur, than could be found to support the abandon- 
ment of, — let us say, — Ireland. Indeed a certain 
parallel undoubtedly exists between the circumstances 
of the two countries. Ireland was, like the Transvaal, 
annexed, though a long time ago, and has continually 
agitated for its freedom. The Irish hate us, so did 
the Boers. In Ireland, Englishmen are being shot, 
and England is running the awful risk of blood- 
guiltiness, as it did in the Transvaal. In Ireland, 
smouldering revolution is being fanned into flame by 
Mr. Gladstone's speeches and acts, as it was in the 
Transvaal. In Ireland, as in the Transvaal, there 
exists a strong loyal class that receives insults instead 
of support from the Government, and whose property, 
as was the case there, is taken from them without 
compensation, to be flung as a sop to stop the mouths 
of the Queen's enemies. And so I might go on, finding 
many such similarities of circumstances, but my parallel, 
like most parallels, must break down at last Thus — 
it mattered little to England whether or no she let the 
Transvaal go, but to let Ireland go would be more than 
even Mr. Gladstone dare attempt. 

Somehow, if you follow these things far enough, 
you always come to vulgar first principles. The dif- 
ference between the case of the Transvaal and that 
of Ireland is a difference not of justice of cause, for 
both causes are equally unjust or just according as 
they are viewed, but of mere common expediency. 
Judging from the elevated standpoint of the national 
morality theory, however, which, as we know, soars 
above such truisms as the foolish statement that force 
is a remedy, or that if you wish to retain your prestige 
you must not allow defeats to pass unavenged, I can> 


not see why, if it was righteous to abandon the Trans- 
vaal, it would not be equally righteous to abandon 
Ireland I 

As for the Transvaal, that country is not to be 
congratulated on its success, for it has destroyed all 
its hopes of permanent peace, has ruined its trade 
and credit, and has driven away the most useful and 
productive class in the community. The Boers, elated 
by their success in arms, will be little likely to settle 
down to peaceable occupations, and still less likely 
to pay their taxes, which, indeed, I hear they are 
already refusing to do. They have learnt how easily 
even a powerful Government can be upset, and the 
lesson is not likely to be forgotten, for want of repeti- 
tion to their own weak one. 

Already the Transvaal Government hardly knows 
which way to turn for funds, and .3, perhaps fortu- 
nately for itself, quite unable to borrow, through want 
of credit. 

As regards the native question, I agree with Mr. 
H. Shepstone, who, in his Eeport on this subject, 
says that he does not believe that the natives will 
inaugurate any action against the Boers, so long as 
the latter do not try to collect taxes, or otherwise 
interfere with them. But if the Boer Government is 
to continue to exist, it will be bound to raise taxes 
from the natives, since it cannot collect much from 
its white subjects. The first general attempt of the 
sort will be the signal for active resistance on the 
part of the natives, whom, if they act without concert, 
the Boers will be able to crush in detail, though with 
considerable loss. If, on the other hand, they should 
have happened, during the last few years, to have learnt 


the advantages of combination, as is quite possible, 
perhaps they will crush the Boers. 

The only thing that is at present certain about the 
matter is that there will be bloodshed, and that before 
long. For instance, the Montsioa difficulty in the Keate 
Award has in it the possibilities of a serious war, and 
there are plenty such difficulties ready to spring into 
life within and without the Transvaal. 

In all human probability it will take but a small 
lapse of time for the Transvaal to find itself in the 
identical position from which we relieved it by the 

What course events will then take it Is impossible 
to say. It may be found desirable to re-annex the 
country, though, in my opinion, that would be, after 
all that has passed, an unfortunate step ; its inhabi- 
tants may be cut up piecemeal by a combined move- 
ment of native tribes, as they would have been, had 
they not been rescued by the English Government in 
1877, or it is possible that the Orange Free State 
may consent to take the Transvaal under its wing: 
who can say ? There is only one thing that our re- 
cently abandoned possession can count on for certain, 
and that is trouble, both from its white subjects, and 
the natives, who hate the Boers with a bitter and a 
well-earned hatred. 

The whole question can, so far as its moral aspect 
is concerned, be summed up in a few words. 

Whether or no the Annexation was a necessity at the 
moment of its execution — which I certainly maintain 
it was — ^it received the unreserved sanction of the 
Home authorities, and the relations of Sovereign and 
subject, with all the many and mutual obligations 


involved in that connection, were established between 
the Queen of England and every individual of the 
motley population of the Transvaal. Nor was this 
change an empty form, for, to the largest proportion 
of that population, this transfer of allegiance brought 
with it a priceless and a vital boon. To them it meant 
freedom and justice — for where, on any portion of 
this globe over which the British ensign floats, does 
the law even wink at cruelty or wrong ? 

A few years passed away, and a small number of 
the Queen's subjects in the Transvaal rose in rebellion 
against her authority, and inflicted some reverses 
on her arms. Thereupon, in spite of the reiterated 
pledges given to the contrary — partly under stress of 
defeat, and partly in obedience to the pressure of 
•* advanced views " — the country was abandoned, and 
the vast majority who had remained faithful to the 
Crown, was handed to the cruel despotism of the 
minority who had rebelled against it. 

Such an act of treachery to those to whom we were 
bound with double chains — by the strong ties of a 
common citizenship, and by those claims to England's 
protection I'rom violence and wrong which have hitherto 
been wont to command it, even where there was no 
duty to fulfil,' and no authority to vindicate — stands, 
I believe, without parallel on our recora&, and marks 
a new departure in our history. 

I cannot end these pages without expressing my 
admiration of the extremely able way in which the 
Boers managed their revolt, when once they felt that, 
having undertaken the thing, it was a question of 
life and death with them. It shows that they have 
(3[Ood stuff in them somewhere, which, under the 


firm but just rule of Her Majesty, might have been 
much developed, and it makes it the more sad that 
they should have been led to throw off that rule, and 
have been allowed to do so by an English Government. 

In conclusion, there is one point that I must touch 
on, and that is the effect of the retrocession on the 
native mind, which I can only describe as most 
disastrous. The danger alluded to in the Keport of 
the Eoyal Commission has been most amply realised, 
and the prevailing belief in the steadfastness of our 
policy, and the inviolability of our plighted word, 
which has hitherto been the great secret of our hold 
on the Kafirs, has been rudely shaken. The motives 
that influenced, or are said to have influenced, the 
Government in their act, are naturally quite unin- 
telligible to savages, however clever, who do believe 
that force is a remedy, and who. have seen the in- 
habitants of a country ruled by England defeat English 
soldiers and take possession of it, whilst those who 
remained loyal to England were driven out of it. It will 
not be wonderful if some of them, say the natives of 
Natal, deduce therefrom conclusions unfavourable to 
loyalty, and evince a desire to try the same experiment. 

It is, however, unprofitable to speculate on the future, 
which must be left to unfold itself. 

The curtain is, so far as this country is concerned, 
down for the moment on the South African stage ; 
when it rises again, there is but too much reason to 
fear that it will reveal a state of confusion, which, 
unless it is more wisely and consistently dealt with in 
the future than it has been in the past, may develop 
into chaos. 


The following pages, extracted from an intro- 
duction to a new edition to " Cetywayo and His 
White Neighbours," written in 1888, are reprinted 
here, because they contain matter of interest con- 
cerning the more recent history of the Transvaal 

Extract from Introdwtion to New Edition 

The recent history of the Transvaal, now once 
more a republic, will fortunately admit of brief 
treatment. It is, so far as England is concerned, 
very much a history of concession. Eor an 
account of the first Convention I must refer 
my readers to the remarks which I have made 


in the chapter of this book headed " The Retroces- 
sion of the Transvaal." It will there be seen that the 
Transvaal Volksraad only ratified the first convention, 
which was wrung from us (Sir Evelyn Wood, to his 
honour be it said, dissenting) after our defeats at 
Lang's Nek, Ingogo, and Majuba, as a favour to the 
British Government, which in its turn virtually pro- 
mised to reconsider the convention, if only the Volks- 
raad would be so good as to ratify it. This conven- 
tion was ratified in October 1881. In June 1883 
the Transvaal Government ^ telegraphs briefly to Lord 
Derby through the High Commissioner thai the 
Volksraad has " resolved that time has come to re- 
consider convention." Lord Derby quickly telegraphs 
back that " Her Majesty's Government consent to 
inquire into the working of convention." Human 
nature is frail, and it is impossible to help wishing 
that Lord Palmerston or Disraeli had been appointed 
by the Fates to answer that telegram. But we have 
fallen upon different days, and new men have arisen 
who appear to be suited to them ; and so the conven- 
tion was reconsidered, and on the 27 th of February 
1884 a new one was signed, which is known as the 
convention of London. It begins by defining bound- 
aries to which the " Government of the South African 
Republic will strictly adhere, . , , and will do its 
utmost to prevent any of its inhabitants from making 
any encroachments upon the said boundaries." The 
^ [0. 3659J. 1883. 


existence of the New Republic in Zululand is a strik- 
ing and practical comment on this article. Article ii. 
also provides for the security of the amended south- 
west boundary. The proclamation of i6th September 
1884 (afterwards disallowed by the English Govern- 
ment), by which the South African Eepublic practically 
annexed the territories of Montsioa and Moshette, 
already for the most part in the possession of its free- 
booters, very clearly illustrates its anxiety to be bound 
by this provision. Art xii. provides for the indepen- 
dence of the Swazis ; and by way of illustrating the 
fidelity with which it has been observed, we shall pre- 
sently have occasion to remark upon the determined 
attempts that have continually been made by Boer free- 
booters to obtain possession of Swaziland — and so on. 
In order to make these severe restrictions palatable 
to the burghers of a free and haughty Eepublic, Lord 
Derby recommends Her Majesty's Government to re- 
mit a trifling sum of ;f 127,000 of their debt due to 
the Imperial Treasury, which was accordingly done. On 
the whole, the Transvaal had no reason to be dissatisfied 
with this new treaty, though really the whole afifair 
is scarcely worth discussing. Convention No. 2 is 
almost as much a farce and a dead letter as was 
Convention No. i . It is, however, impossible to avoid 
being impressed with the really remarkable tone, not 
merely of equality, but of superiority, adopted by the 
South African Republic and its officials towards this 
country. To take an instance. The Republic had 


found it convenient to wage a war of extermination 
upon some Kafir chiefs. Two of these, Mampoer and 
Njahel, fell into its hands. Her Majesty's Government 
was, rightly or wrongly, so impressed with the injus- 
tice of the sentence of death passed upon these un- 
fortunates, that, acting through Mr. Hudson, the British 
Eesident at Pretoria, it strained every nerve to save 
them. This was the upshot of it In a tone of 
studied sarcasm. His Honour the State President 
" observes with great satisfaction the great interest in 
these cases which has been manifested by your Honour 
and Her Majesty's Government." He then goes on 
to say that, notwithstanding this interest, Mampoer 
will be duly and effectually hung, giving the exact 
time and place of the event, and Njabel imprisoned 
for life, with hard labour. Finally, he once more con- 
veys " the hearty thanks of the Government and the 
members of the Executive Council for the interest 
manifested in these cases," ^ and remains, &c. 

The independence of Swaziland was guaranteed by 
the convention of 1884. Yet the Blue-books are full 
of accounts of various attempts made by Boers to obtain 
a footing in Swaziland. Thus in November 1885 
Umbandine, the king of Swaziland, sends messengers 
to the Governor of Natal through Sir T. Shepstone, 
in which he states that in the winter Piet Joubert, 
accompanied by two other Boers and an interpreter, 
came to his kraal and asked him to sign a paper ** to 

' [0. 3841], 1884* p 148- 


say that "he and all the Swazis agreed to go over and 
recognise the authority of the Boer Government, and 
have nothing more to do with the English." ^ Um- 
bandine refused, saying that he looked to and recog- 
nised the English Government Thereon the Boers, 
growing angry, answered, " Those fathers of yours, the 
English, act very slowly ; and if you look to them for 
help, and refuse to sign this paper, we shall have 
scattered you and your people, and taken possession 
of the land before they arrive. Why do you refuse to 
sign the paper ? You know we defeated the English 
at Majuba." Umbandine's message then goes on to 
say that he recognises the English Government only, 
and does not wish to have dealings with the Boers. 
Also, in the following month, we find him making a 
direct application to the Colonial Office through Mr. 
David Forbes,' praying that his country may be taken 
under the protection of Her Majesty's Government. 

More than one such attempt to secure informal rights 
of occupation in Swaziland appears to have been made 
by the Transvaal Boers. Mr. T. Shepstone, C.M G., is 
at present acting as Kesident to Umbandine, though 
he has not, it would seem, any regular commission 
from the Home Government authorising him to do so, 
probably because it does not consider that its rights 
in Swaziland are such as to justify such an assumption 
of formal authority over the Swazis. However this 
may be, Umbandine could not have found a better 
' 10. 4645]. »8S6. js 64. ' Ibid. p. 7a 


man to protect his interests. Of course, when acts 
like that of Piet Joubert are reported to the Govern- 
ment of the South African Eepublic and made the 
subject of a remonstrance by this country, all know- 
ledge of them is repudiated, as it was repudiated in 
the case of the invasion of Zululand. 

It is part of the policy of the Transvaal only to 
become an accessory after the fact. Its subjects gc 
forth and stir up trouble among the natives, and then 
probably the Boer Government intervenes ** in the in- 
terests of humanity," and takes, or tries to take, the 
country. This process is always going on, and, unless 
the British Government puts a stop to it, always will 
go on. We shall probably soon hear that it is de- 
veloping itself in the direction of Matabeleland. ^ A 
country the size of France, which could without diffi- 
culty accommodate a population of from eight to ten 
millions of industrious folk, is not large enough for 
the wants of a Boer people, numbering something 
under fifty thousand souls. Every young Boer must 
have his six or more thousand acres of land on which 
to lord it. It is his birthright, and if it is not forth- 
coming he goes and takes it by force from the nearest 
native tribe. Hence these continual complaints. Of 
course, there are two ways of looking at the matter. 
There is a party that does not hesitate to say that the 
true policy of this country is to let the Boers work 
their will upon the natives, and then, as they in turn 
fly from civilisation towards the far interior, to follow 


on their path and occupy the lands that they have 
, Bwept. This plan is supported by arguments about the 
superiority of the white races and their obvious destiny 
of rule. It is, I confess, one that I look upon as little 
short of wicked. I could never discern a superiority 
so great in ourselves as to authorise us, by right divine 
as it were, to destroy the coloured man and take his 
lands. It is difficult to see why a Zulu, for instance, 
has not as much right to live in his own way as a 
Boer or an Englishman. Of course, there is another 
extreme. Nothing is more ridiculous than the length 
to which the black brother theory is sometimes driven 
by enthusiasts. A savage is one thing, and a civilised 
man is another ; and though civilised men may and do 
become savages, I personally doubt if the converse is 
even possible. But whether the civilised man, with 
his gin, his greed, and his dynamite, is really so very 
superior to the savage is another question, and one 
which would bear argument, although this is not the 
place to argue it. My point is, that his superiority 
is not at any rate so absolutely overwhelming as to 
justify him in .the wholesale destruction of the savage 
and the occupation of his lands, or even in allow- 
ing others to do the work for him if he can prevent 
it. The principle might conceivably be pushed to in- 
convenient and indecent lengths. Savagery is only a 
question of degree. When all true savages have been 
wiped out, the most civilised and self-righteous among 
the nations may begin to give the term to those whom 


they consider to be on a lower scale than themselves, 
and apply the argument also. Thus there are ** cul- 
tured " people in another land who do not hesitate to 
say that the humble writers of these islands are rank 
and rude barbarians not to be endured. Supposing 
that, being the stronger, they also applied the argtimerU, 
it would be inconvenient for some of us, and perhaps 
the world would not gain so very much after alL 
But this is a digression, only excusable, if excusable at 
all, in one who has endured a three weeks' course of 
unmitigated Blue-book. To return. 

The process of absorption attempted in Swaziland, 
and brought to a successful issue in Zululand, also 
went forward merrily in Bechuanaland, till recently, 
under the rule of Mankorane, chief of the Batlapins, 
and Montsioa, chief of the Baralongs. These two 
chiefs have always been devoted friends and adhe- 
rents of the English Government, and consequently are 
not regarded with favour by the Boers. Shortly after 
the retrocession of the Transvaal, a rival to Mankorane 
rose up in the person of a certain Massou, and a 
rival to Montsioa named Moshette. Both Massou 
and Moshette were supported by Boer fillibusters, and 
what happened to Usibepu in Zululand happened to 
these unfortunate chiefs in Bechuanaland. They were 
defeated after a gallant struggle, and two Kepublics 
called Stellaland and Goschen were carved out of 
their territories and occupied by the fillibusters. 
Fortunately for them, however, they had a friend in 


the person of the Eev. John Mackenzie, to whose 
valuable work, " Austral Africa," I beg to refer the 
reader for a fuller account of these events. Mr. 
Mackenzie, who had for many years lived as a mis- 
sionary among the Bechuana8,had also mastered the fact 
that it is very difficult to do anything for South Africa 
in this country unless you can msJce it a question of 
votes, or, in other words, unless you can bring pressure 
to bear upon the Government. Accordingly he com- 
menced an agitation on behalf of Mankorane and Mont- 
sioa, in which he was supported by various religious 
bodies, and also by the late Mr. Forster and the 
Aborigines Protection Society. As a result of this 
agitation he was appointed Deputy to the High Com- 
missioner for Bechuanaland, whither he proceeded 
early in 1884 to establish a British protectorate. He 
was gladly welcomed by the unfortunate chiefs, who 
were now almost at their last gasp, and who both of 
them ceded their rights of government to the Queen, 
Hostilities did not, however, cease, for on the 31st 
July 1884 the fiUibusters again attacked Montsoia, 
routed him, and cruelly murdered Mr. Bethell, his 
English adviser. Meanwhile Mr. Mackenzie's success 
was viewed with very mixed feelings at the Cape. To 
the English party it was most acceptable, but the 
Dutch,^ and more numerous party, looked on it with 

^ By the Dutch party I mean the anti-Imperial and retrogressirfl 
party. It must be remembered that many of the now educated aad 
proenessiye Boers do not belong to this. 


alarm and disgust. They did not at all wish to see 
the Imperial power established in Bechuanaland ; so 
pressure was put upon Sir Hercules Kobinson, and 
through him on Mr. Mackenzie, to such an extent indeed 
as to necessitate the resignation of the latter. Thereon 
the High Commissioner despatched a Cape politician, 
Mr. Cecil Khodes, and his own private secretary, 
Captain Bower, E.N., to Bechuanaland. These gentle- 
men at once set to work to undo most of what Mr. 
Mackenzie had done, and, generally speaking, did not 
advance either British or native interests in Bechuana- 
land. At this point, taking advantage of the general 
confusion, the Government of the South African Ee- 
public issued a proclamation placing both Montsioa 
and Moshette under its protection, as usual " in the 
interests of humanity." 

But the agitation in England had, fortunately for 
what remained of the Bechuana people, not been 
allowed to drop. Her Majesty's Government dis- 
allowed the Boer proclamation, under Article iv. of 
the convention of London, and despatched an armed 
force to Bechuanaland, commanded by Sir Charles 
Warren. This good act, I believe I am right in 
saying, we owe entirely to the firmness of Sir Charles 
Dilke and Mr. Chamberlain, who insisted upon its being 
done. Meanwhile Messrs. Upington and Sprigg, mem- 
bers of the Cape Government, hastened to Bechuanaland 
to effect a settlement before the arrival of Sir Charles 
Warren's force. This settlement, though it might 


haye been agreeable to the fillibusters and the anti- 
Imperialists generally, was disallowed by Her Majesty's 
Government as unsatisfactory, and Sir Charles Warren 
was ordered to occupy Bechuanaland, This he accord- 
ingly did, taking Mr. Mackenzie with him, very much 
against the will of the anti-English party, and, be it 
added, of Sir Hercules Eobinson. Indeed, if we may 
accept Mr. Mackenzie's version of these occurrences, 
which seems to be a fair one, and adequately supported 
by documentary evidence, the conduct of Sir Hercules 
Robinson towards Mr. Mackenzie would really admit 
of explanation. As soon as the freebooters saw that 
the Imperial Government was really in earnest, of 
course there was no more trouble. They went away, 
and Sir Charles Warren took possession of Bechuana- 
land without striking a single blow. He remained in 
the country for nearly a year arranging for its per- 
manent pacification and government, and as a result 
of his occupation, on the 30th September 1885, all 
the territory south of the Molopo River was declared to 
be British territory, and made into a quasi crown colony, 
the entire extent of land, including the districts ruled 
over by Khama, Sechele, and Gasitsive, being about 
1 60,000 square miles in area. I believe that the new 
colony of British Bechuanaland is proving a very con- 
siderable success. Every provision has been made for 
native wants, and its settlement goes on apace. There 
IB no reason why, with its remarkable natural advan- 
tages» it should not one day become a great country, 


with a prosperous white, and a loyal and contented 
native population. When this comes about it is to be 
hoped that it will remember that it owes its existence to 
the energy and firmness of Mr. Mackenzie, Sir Charles 
Dilke, Mr. Chamberlain, and Sir Charles Warren. 

It is probably by now dawning upon the mind of 
the British public that when we gave up the Trans- 
vaal we not only did a cowardly thing and sowed a 
plentiful crop of future troubles, we also abandoned 
one of the richest, if not the richest, country in the 
world. The great gold-fields which exist all over 
the surface of the land are being opened up and 
pouring out their treasures so fast that it is said that 
the Transvaal Government, hitherto remarkable for 
its impecuniosity, does not know what to do with its 
superfluous cash. To what extent this will continue 
it is impossible to say, but I for one shall not be sur- 
prised if the output should prove to be absolutely 
unprecedented. And with gold in vast quantities, 
with iron in mountains, and coal-beds to be measured 
by the scores of square miles, with lead and copper 
and cobalt, a fertile soil, water, and one of the most 
lovely climates in the world, what more is required 
to make a country rich and great ? Only one thing, 
an Anglo-Saxon Government, and that we have taken 
away from the Transvaal. Whether the English flag 
has vanished for ever from its borders is, however, 
still an open question. The discovery of gold in such 
quantities is destined to exercise a very remarkable 


influence upon the future of the Transvaal. Where 
gold is to be found, there the hardy, enterprising, 
EngKsh-speaking diggers flock together, and before 
them and their energy the Boer retreats, as the native 
retreats and vanishes before the rifle of the Boer. 
Already there are many thousands of diggers in the 
Transvaal ; if the discoveries "of gold go on and prove 
as remunerative as they promise to be, in a few more 
years their number will be vastly increased. Sup- 
posing that another five years sees sixty or seventy 
thousand English diggers at work in the Transvaal, 
is it to be believed that these men will in that event 
allow themselves to be ruled by eight or nine thousand 
hostile-hearted Boers ? Is it to be believed, too, that 
the Boers will stop to try and rule them ? From such 
knowledge as I have of their character I should say 
certainly not. They will trek^ anywhere out of the 
way of the Englishman and his English ways, and 
those who do not trek will be absorbed.^ Should this 
happen, it is, of course, possible, and even probable, 
that for some time the diggers, fearing the vacillations 
of Imperial' policy, would prefer to remain independent 
with a Eepublican form of Government. But the 
Englishman is a law-abiding and patriotic creature, 
and as society settled itself in the new community, 
it would almost certainly desire to be united to the 
Empire and acknowledge the sovereignty of the Queen. 
So far as a judgment can be formed, if only the gold 

' The occupation of Rhodesia has now made it impossible for the 
T^o*>r» to f.rpV nnt of r^ach of thp Engrlith and their flag. — TT. TL IT 


holds out the Transvaal will as certainly fall into the 
lap of the Empire as a green apple will one day drop 
from the tree — that is, if it is not gathered. 

Now it is quite possible that the Germans, or some 
other power, may try to gather the Transvaal apple. 
The Boers are not blind to the march of events, and 
they dislike us and our rule. Perhaps they might 
think it worth their while to seek German protection, 
and unless we are prepared to say " no " very firmly 
indeed — and who knows, in the present condition of 
Home politics, what we are prepared to do from one 
day to another ? — Germany would in such a case almost 
certainly think it worth her while to give it. Very 
likely the protection, when granted, would in some ways 
resemble that which the Boer himself, his breast aglow 
with love of peace and the " interests of humanity,'* 
is so anxious to extend to the misguided native pos- 
sessor of desirable and well- watered lands. Very likely, 
in the end, the Boer would be sorry that he did not 
accept the ills he knew of. But that is neither here 
nor there. So far as we are concerned, the mischief 
would be done. In short, should the position arise, 
everything will depend upon our capacity of saying 
** no," and the tone in which we say it It will not 
do to rely upon our London convention, by which 
the Transvaal is forbidden to conclude treaties with 
outside powers without the consent of this Govern- 
ment. The convention has been broken before now, 
and will be broken again, if the Boers find it con- 
venient to break it. and kpow that they can do so 


with impunity. Meanwhile we must rest on our oars 
and watch events. One thing, however, might and 
should be done. Some person having weight and real 
authority — if he were quite new to South Africa so 
much the better — should be appointed as our Consul 
to watch over the welfare of Englishmen and our 
Imperial interests at Pretoria, and properly paid for 
doing so. It is difficult to find a suitable man unless 
he is adequately salaried and supported. 

But quite recently this country has awakened to 
the knowledge that Delagoa Bay is important to its 
South African interests, though how important it per- 
haps does not altogether realise. For years and years 
the colony of Natal has been employed in the inter- 
mittent construction of a railway with a very narrow 
gauge, which is now open as far as Ladysmith, or 
to within a hundred miles of the Transvaal border. 
Natal is very poor, and in common with the rest of 
South Africa, and indeed of the world, has lately been 
passing through a period of great commercial depres- 
sion. The Home Government has refused to help it 
to construct its railways (if it had done so, how many 
hundreds of thousand pounds would have been saved 
to the British taxpayer during the Zulu and Boer 
wars !), and has equally refused to aUow it to borrow 
sufficient money to get them constructed, with the 
result that a large amount of the interior trade has 
already been deflected into other channela And now 
a fresh and very real danger, not only to Natal, but to 


all Imperial interests in South Africa, has sprung into 
sudden prominence, that is, in this country, for in Africa 
it has been foreseen for many years. Above Zululand 
is situated Amatongaland, which reaches to the southern 
shore of one of the finest harbours in the world, 
Delagoa Bay. This great bight, in which half a dozen 
navies could ride at anchor, the only really good haven 
on the coasts of South Africa, is fifty-five miles in 
width and twenty in depth, that is, from east to west 
It is separated from the Transvaal, of which it is the 
natural port, by about ninety miles of wild and sparsely 
inhabited country. 

The ownership of this splendid port was for many 
years in dispute between this country and the Portu- 
guese, with whose dominions of Mozambique it is con- 
nected by a strip of coast, and who have a smali 
fort upon it. This dispute was finally referred by 
Lord Granville in 1872 to the decision of Marshal 
MacMahon, and on this occasion, as on every other 
in which this country has been weak enough to go to 
arbitration, that decision was given against us. Into 
the merits of the case it is not necessary to enter, 
further than to say, as has already been recently 
pointed out by a very able and well-informed corre- 
spondent of the Morning Post, that it is by no means 
clear by what right the matter was referred to arbitra- 
tion at all. The Amatongas are in possession of the 
southern shore of the bay, including, I believe, the 
Inyack Peninsula and Inyack Island, and they are 


an independent people. The Swazis also abut on it, 
and they are independent. What warrant had we 
to refer their rights to the arbitration of Marshal 
MacMahon? The evidence of the exercise of any 
Portuguese sovereignty over these countries is so 
shadowy that it may be said never to have existed ; 
certainly it does not exist now. This is a point, but 
it is nothing more. We must take things as we find 
them, and we find that the Portuguese have been for- 
mally declared and admitted by us to be the owners 
of Delagoa Bay. 

Now, so long as we held the Transvaal it did 
not so much matter who had the sovereignty of the 
Bay, since a railway constructed from there could 
only run to British territory. But we gave up the 
Transvaal, which is now virtually a hostile state, 
and the contingency which has been so long foreseen 
in South Africa, and so blindly overlooked at home, 
has come to pass — the railway is in course of rapid 
completion. What does this mean to us? At the 
best, it means that we lose the greater part of the trade 
of South-easfiern Africa; at the worst, that we lose 
it all. In other words, it means, putting aside the 
question of our Imperial needs and status in Africa, a 
great many millions a year in hard cash out of the 
national pocket Let us suppose that the worst hap- 
pens, and that the Germans get a footing either in 
the Transvaal or Delagoa Bay. Obviously they will 
stop our trade in favour of their own. Or let ui 


Buppose that the Transvaal takes advantage of one of 
our spasms of Imperial paralysis, such as afflicted us 
during the r^ime of Lord Derby, and defies the pro- 
vision in the convention which forbids them to put a 
heavier tax upon our goods than upon those of any 
other nation. In either event our case would be a 
bad one, for our road from the eastern co£ist to the 
vast interior is blocked. But it is of little use crying 
over spilt milk, or anticipating evils which it is our 
duty to try to avert, and which in all probability 
still could be averted by a sound and consistent 

To begin with, both Swaziland and Amatongaland 
can be annexed to the Empire. It is true that the in- 
dependence of the first of these countries is guaranteed 
by Article xii. of the convention of London of 1884. 
Here is the exact wording : — " The independence of 
the Swazis within the boundary-line of Swaziland, as 
indicated in the first article of this convention, will 
be fully recognised." But England has for years 
exercised a kind of protective right over Swaziland — 
a right, as I have already shown, fully acknowledged 
and frequently appealed to by the Swazis themselves. 
And for the rest, what is the obvious meaning of this 
provision ? It means that the independence of Swazi- 
land is guaranteed against Boer encroachments; its 
object was to protect the Swazis from extermination 
at the hands of the Boers. Further, the Boers have 
Again and again broken this article of the convention 


in their repeated attempts to get a foothold in Swazi- 
land. It has now become necessary to our interests 
that the Swazis should come under our rule, as indeed 
they are most anxious to do, and a way should be 
found by which this end can be accomplished. 

Then as to Amatongaland, or Maputaland, as it is 
sometimes called, only a month or two ago an 
embassy from the Queen of that country waited on 
the Colonial Ofi&ce, praying for British protection. It 
is not known what answer they received ; let us trust 
that it was a favourable one.^ The protection that 
should be accorded to the Amatongas, both in their 
interests and our own, is annexation to the British 
Empire upon such terms as might be satisfactory to 
them. The management of their country might be 
left to them, subject to the advice of a Kesident, and 
the enforcement of the ordinary laws respecting life 
and property common to civilised states. Drink and 
white men might be strictly excluded from it, unless 
the Amatongas should wish to welcome the latter. But 
the country, with its valuable but undefined rights over 
Delagoa Bay, -should belong to England, for whoever 
owns Swaziland and Amatongaland will in course of 
time be almost certain to own the Bay also. It must 

^ I nnderatand that the treaty which we hAve concluded with 
Amatongaland (where, by the way, it is said a new harbour has been 
discovered) binds the authorities of that country not to cede territory 
to any other Power. But there is nothing in such a treaty to prevent, 
say Portugal or the Boers, from taking possession of the land by force 
of arms. Were the country annexed to th« Crown, or a British Pro- 
tectorate established, they would not dare to do this. 

Note. — This has since been done. — H. R. H. 


further be remembered that circumstances have already 
given us certain rights over the Amatongas. They 
regarded Cetywayo as their suzerain, and it was, I 
believe, at his instance that Zambila was appointed 
regent during the minority of her son. As we have 
annexed what remains of Zululand, Cetywayo's suze- 
rainty has consequently passed to us. 

Meanwhile, can nothing be done by direct treaty 
with the Portuguese ? A little while ago the Bay 
could no doubt have been acquired for a very mode- 
rate consideration, but those golden opportunities have 
been allowed to slip from hands busy weaving the web 
of party politics. Now it is a different affair. Delagoa 
Bay is of no direct value to Portugal except for the 
honour and glory of the thing. Portugal has never 
done anything with it, any more than she has with 
her other African possessions, and never will do any- 
thing with it. But it has become very valuable, 
indeed, so far as its South African interests are con- 
cerned, almost vital, to this country, and of that fact 
Portugal is perfectly well aware. Consequently, if 
we want the Bay we must pay for it, if not in cash, 
at the offer of which the Portuguese national pride 
might be revolted, then in some other equivalent 
Surely a power like England could find a way of 
obliging one like Portugal in return for this small 
concession. Or an exchange of territory might be 
effected. Perhaps Portugal might be inclined to 
accept of some of our possessions on the West Coast 


or an island or two in the West Indies. It is hard 
to suppose that there is no way out of the trouble ; 
but if indeed there is none, why, then, one must be 
found, or we must be content to lose a great part of 
our African trade. 

The reader who has followed me through this brief 
and imperfect summary of recent events in South 
Africa will see how varied are its interests, how 
enormous its areas, and how vast its wealth. In that 
great country England is still the paramount power. 
Her prestige has, indeed, been greatly shaken, and she is 
sadly fallen from her estate of eight or nine years gone. 
But she is still paramount ; and if she has to face the 
animosity of a section of the Boers, she can, notwith- 
standing her many crimes against them, set against it 
the love and respect of every native in the land, with the 
exception, perhaps, of a few self-seekers and intriguers. 
The history of the next twenty years, and perhaps of 
the next ten, will decide whether this country is to 
remain paramount or whether South Africa is to be- 
come a great Dutch, English-hating Eepublic. There 
are some who call themselves Englishmen, and who, 
possessed by that strange itch which prompts them to 
desire any evil that can humble their country in the 
face of her enemies, or can bring about the advantage 
of the rebel to the injury of the loyal subject, to whom 
this last event would be most welcome, and who have 
not hesitated to say that it would be welcome. To 
such there is nothing to be said. Let them follow 


their false lights and earn the wonder of true-hearted 
men and the maledictions of posterity. 

But, addressing those of other and older doctrines, 
I would ask what such an event would mean ? It 
would mean nothing less than a great national cala- 
mity; it would mean the utter ruin of the native 
tribes ; and, to come to a reason which has a wider 
popularity, for as I think Mr. S. Little says in his 
work on South Africa, " the argument to the pocket is 
the best argument to the man," it would mean the loss 
of a vast trade, which, if properly protected, will be 
growing while we are sleeping And this calamity can 
yet be averted ; the mistakes and cowardice of the past 
can still be remedied, at any rate to a great extent ; 
the door is yet open. We have many difficulties to 
face, among the chief of which are the Transvaal, the 
question of Delagoa Bay, and last, but not least, the 
question of the Dutch party at the Cape, which may be 
numerically the strongest party. When, in our mania 
for representative institutions, we thrust responsible 
government upon the Cape, we placed ourselves 
practically at the mercy of any chance anti-English 
majority. It is possible that in the future we may 
find some such majority urging upon an English 
Ministry the desirability of the separation of the Cape 
Colony from the Empire, and may find also that the 
prayer meets with favourable attention from those to 
whom there is but one thing sacred, the rights of a 
majority, and especially of an agitating majority. 


But let not the country be deceived by any such 
representations. The natives too have a right to a 
voice in the disposal of their fortunes and their lands. 
They are the majority in the proportion of three to 
one, and let any doubter go and ask of them, any- 
where from the Zambesi to Cape Agulhas, whether 
they would rather be ruled by the Queen or by a 
Boer Eepublic, and hear the answer. When it was 
a question of surrendering the Transvaal we heard a 
great deal of the rights of some thirty thousand Boers, 
and very little, or rather nothing, of the rights of the 
million natives who lived in the country with them, 
and to whom that country originally belonged. And 
yet, if the reader will turn to that part of this book 
which deals with the question, he will find that they 
had an opinion, and a strong one. No settlement of 
South African questions that does not receive adequate 
consideration from a native point of view can be a 
just settlement, or one which the Home Government 
should sanction. Moreover, the Cape is not by any 
means entirely anti-English at heart, as was shown 
clearly enough by the number and enthusiasm of the 
loyalist meetings when its Ministry was attempting 
to undo Mr. Mackenzie's work in Bechuanaland in 
the interests of the Patriot-party. 

Still, it is possible that movements may arise under 
the fostering care of the Africander Bond and its sym- 
pathisers, having for object the separation of the colony 
from the Empire, or other ends fatal to Imperial in- 


terests ; and in this case the Home Government should 
be prepared to disallow and put a final stop to them. 
We cannot afford to lose our alternative route to India 
and to throw these great territories into the hands of 
enemies, from which they would very probably pass into 
those of commercial rivals. In such an event all that 
would be required is a show of firmness. If once it 
was known that an English Ministry really meant what 
it said, and that its promises made in the Queen's name 
were not liable to be given the lie by a succeeding 
set of politicians elected on another platform, there 
would be an end to disloyalty and agitation in South 
Africa. As it is, loyalists, remembering the experiences 
of the last few years, are faint-hearted, never knowing 
if they will meet with support at home, while agitators 
and enemies wax exceeding bold. 

Our system of party government, whatever may be its 
merits, if any, as applied to Home politics, is a great enemy 
to the welfare and progress of our Colonies, the affairs 
of which are, especially of late years, frequently used as 
stalking-horses to cover an attack upon the other side. 
Could not the two great parties agree to rule Colonial 
affairs, and especially South African affairs, out of the 
party game ? Could not the policy of the Colonial Office 
be guided by a Commission composed of members of 
different political opinions, and responsible not to party, 
but to Parliament and the country, instead of by a 
succession of Ministers as variable and as transitory 
as shadows? Lord Eosebery and Mr. Chamberlain, 


for instance, are Radicals ; but, putting aside party 
tactics and exigencies, are their views upon Colonial 
matters so widely different from those of, let us say, 
Sir Michael Hicks Beach and Lord Carnarvon that it 
would be impossible for these four gentlemen to act 
together on such a Commission ? Surely they are not ; 
and perhaps a day may come when the common-sense 
of the country will lead it to adopt some such system 
which would give to the Colonies a fixed and intelli- 
gent control aiming at the furtherance of the joint 
interests of the Empire and its dependencies. If it ever 
does, that day will be a happy one for all concerned. 

Meanwhile, there is jso far as South Africa is con- 
cerned, a step that might be taken to the great benefit 
of that country, and also of our Imperial aims, and 
that is the appointment of a High Commissioner who 
would have charge of all Imperial as distinguished 
from the various Colonial interests. This appointment 
has already been advocated with ability by Mr. 
Mackenzie in the last chapter of his book, " Austral 
Africa," and it is undoubtedly one that should receive 
the consideration of the Government Such an officer 
would not supersede the Governors of the various 
colonies or the administrators of the native territories, 
although, so far as Imperial interests were concerned, 
they would be primarily responsible to him. At present 
there is no central authority except the Colonial Office, 
and Downing Street is a long way off and somewhat 
overworked. Each Governor must necessarily look at 


South African affairs from his own standpoint and 
through local glasses. What is wanted ia a man of 
the first ability, whose name would command respect 
abroad and support at home; and several such men could 
be found, who would study South African politics as a 
whole as an engineer studies a map, and who would set 
himself to conciliate and reconcile all interests for the 
common welfare and the welfare of the mother-country. 
Such a man, or rather a succession of such men, might, 
if properly supported, succeed in bringing about a 
very different state of affairs from that which has been 
briefly reviewed and considered in these pages. They 
might, little by little, build up a South African Con- 
federation, strong in itself and loyal to England, that 
shall in time become a great empire. For my part, 
notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers which we 
have brought upon ourselves, and upon the various 
South African territories and their inhabitants, I be- 
lieve that such an empire is destined to arise, and that 
it will not take the form of a Dutch Eepublic. 




Thebb were more murders and acts of cruelty committed 
during the war at Potchef stroom, where the behaviour of the 
Boers was throughout both deceitful and savage, than at any 
other place. 

When the fighting commenced a number of ladies and 
children, the wives and children of English residents, took 
refuge in the fort. Shortly after it had been invested they 
applied to be allowed to return to their homes in the town 
till the war was over. The request was refused by the Boer 
commander, who said that as they had gone there, they 
might stop and " perish " there. One poor lady, the wife of 
a gentleman well known in the Transvaal, was badly wounded 
by having the point of a stake, which had been cut in two by 
a bullet, driven into her side. She was at the time in a state 
of pregnancy,* and died some days afterwards in great agony. 
Her little sister was shot through the throat, and several other 
women and children suffered from bullet wounds, and fever 
Arising from their being obliged to live tor months exposed 
to rain and heat, with insufficient food. 

The moving spirit of all the Potchefstroom atrocities wa« 

a cruel wretch of the name of Buskes, a well-educated man, 

who, as an advocate of the High Court, had taken the oath 

of allegiance to the Queen. 



One deponent swears that he saw this Buskes wearing 
Captain Fall's diamond ring, which he had taken from 
Sergeant Ritchie, to whom it was handed to be sent to 
England, and also that he had possessed himself of the 
carriages and other goods belonging to prisoners taken by 
the Boers. ^ Another deponent (whose name is omitted in 
the Blue Book for precautionary reasons) swears, " That on 
the next night the patrol again came to my house accom- 
panied by one Buskes, who was secretary of the Boer Com- 
mittee, and again asked where my wife and daughter were. 
I replied, in bed ; and Buskes then said, * I must see for 
myself.' I refused to allow him, and he forced me, with a 
loaded gun held to my breast, to open the curtains of the 
bed, when he pulled the bedclothes half off my wife, and 
altogether off my daughter. I then told him if I had a gun 
I would shoot him. He placed a loaded gun at my breast, 
when my wife sprang out of bed and got between us." 

I remember hearing at the time that this Buskes (who is 
a good musician) took one of his victims, who was on the 
way to execution, into the chapel and played the " Dead 
March in Saul," or some such piece, over him on the organ. 

After the capture of the Court House a good many English- 
men fell into the hands of the Boers. Most of these were 
sentenced to hard labour and deprivation of " civil rights." 
The sentence was enforced by making them work in the 
trenches under a heavy fire from the fort One poor fellow, 
F. W. Finlay by name, got his head blown off by a shell from 
his own friends in the fort, and several loyal Kafirs suffered 
the same fate. After these events the remaining prisoners 
refused to return to the trenches till they had been " tamed " 
by being thrashed with the butt end of guns, and by threats 
of receiving twenty-five lashes each. 

But their fate, bad as it was, was not bo awful as that 
suffered by Dr. Woite and J. Van der Linden. 

* Bubkes was afterwards forced to deliver up the ring. 


Dr. Woite had attended the Boer meeting which was held 
before the outbreak, and written a letter from thence to 
Major Clarke, in which he had described the talk of the Boers 
as silly bluster. He was not a paid spy. This letter was, 
unfortunately for him, found in Major Clarke's pocket-book, 
and because of it he was put through a form of trial, taken 
out and shot dead, all on the same day. He left a wife and 
large family, who afterwards found their way to Natal in a 
destitute condition. 

The case of Van der Linden is somewhat similar. He was 
one of Raaf's Volunteers, and as such had taken the oath 
of allegiance to the Queen. In the execution of his duty 
he made a report to his commanding officer about the Boer 
meeting, and which afterwards fell into the hands of the 
Boers. On this he was put through the form of trial, and, 
though in the service of the Queen, was found guilty of 
treason and condemned to death. One of his judges, a little 
less stony-hearted than the rest, pointed out that " when the 
prisoner committed the crime martial law had not yet been 
proclaimed, nor the State," but it availed him nothing. He 
was taken out and shot. 

A Kafir named Carolus was also put through the form of 
trial and shot, for no crime at all that I can discover. 

Ten unarmed Kafir drivers, who had been sent away from 
the fort, were shot down in cold blood by a party of Boers. 
Several witnesses depose to having seen their remains lying 
together close by Potchefstroom. 

Various other Kafirs were shot. None of the perpetrators 
of these crimes were brought to justice. The Royal Com- 
mission comments on these acts as follows : — 

" In regard to the deaths of Woite, Van der Linden, and 
Carolus, the Boer leaders do not deny the fact that those men 
had been executed, but sought to justify it. The majority of 
your Commissioners felt bound to record their opinion that 
the taking of the lives of these men was an act contrary to 


the rales of civilised warfare. Sir H. de Yilliers was of 
opinion that the executions in these cases, having been 
ordered by properly constituted court martial of the Boers' 
forces after due trial, did not fall under the cognisance of 
your Commissioners. 

" Upon the case of William Finlay the majority of your 
Commissioners felt bound to record the opinion that the 
sacrifice of Finlay's life, through forced labour under fire 
in the trenches, was an act contrary to the rules of civilised 
warfare. Sir H. de Villiera did not fed justified by the fact* 
of the case in joining in this expression of opinion (sic). As 
to the case of the Kafir Andries, your Commissioners decided 
that, although the shooting of this man appeared to them, 
from the information laid before them, to be not in accord- 
ance with the rules of civilised warfare, under all the cir- 
cumstances of the case, it was not desirable to insist upon a 

"The majority of your Commissioners, although feeling 
it a duty to record emphatically their disapproval of the 
acts that resulted iu the deaths of Woite, Van der Linden, 
Finlay, and Carolus, yet found it impossible to bring to justice 
the persons guilty of these acts." 

It will be observed that Sir H. de Villiers does not express 
any disapproval, emphatic or otherwise, of these wicked 

But Potchefstroom did not enjoy a monopoly of murder. 

In December 1880, Captain Elliot, who was a survivor 
from the Bronker Spruit massacre, and Captain Lambart, 
who had been taken prisoner by the Boers whilst bringing 
remounts from the Free State, were released from Heidel- 
berg on parol on condition that they left the country. An 
escort of two men brought them to a drift of the Yaal river, 
where they refused to cross, because they could not get their 
cart through, the river being in flood. The escort then 
returned to Heidelberg and reported that the officers would 


not cross. A civil note was then sent back to Captain 
Elliot and Lambart, signed by P. J. Joabert, telling them 
" to pass the Vaal river immediately by the road that will 
be shown to you." What secret orders, if any, were sent 
with this letter has never transpired ; but I decline to be- 
lieve that, either in this or in Barber's case, the Boer escort 
took upon themselves the responsibility of murdering their 
prisoners, without authority of some kind for the deed. 

The men despatched from Heidelberg with the letter found 
Lambart and Elliot wandering about and trying to find the 
way to Standerton. They presented the letter, and took 
them towards a drift in the Vaal. Shortly before they got 
there the prisoners noticed that their escort had been rein- 
forced. It would be interesting to know, if these extra men 
were not sent to assist in the murder, how and why they 
turned up as they did and joined themselves to the escort. 
The prisoners were taken to an old and disused drift of the 
Vaal river and told to cross. It was now dark, and the 
river was much swollen with rain ; in fact, impassable for 
the cart and horses. Captains Elliot and Lambart begged to 
be allowed to outspan till the next morning, but were told 
that they must cross, which they accordingly attempted to do. 
A few yards from the bank the cart stuck on a rock, and 
whilst in this position the Boer escort poured a volley into 
it. Poor Elliot was instantly killed, one bullet fracturing 
his skull, another passing through the back, a third shatter- 
ing the rigHt thigh, and a fourth breaking the left wrist. 
The cart was also riddled, but strange to say. Captain 
Lambart was untouched, and succeeded in swimming to the 
further bank, the Boers firing at him whenever the flashes 
of lightning revealed his whereabouts. After sticking some 
time in the mud of the bank he managed to effect his escape, 
and next day reached the house of an Englishman called 
Groom, living in the Free State, and from thence made his 
way to Natal 


Two of the murderers were put through a form of trial, 
after the conclusion of peace, and acquitted. 

The case of the murder of Dr. Barber is of a somewhat 
similar character to that of Elliot, except that there is in 
this case a curious piece of indirect evidence that seems to 
connect the murder directly with Piet Joubert, one of thf 

In the month of February 1881, two Englishmen came 
to the Boer laager at Lang's Nek to offer their services as 
doctors. Their names were Dr. Barber, who was well known 
to the Boers, and his assistant, Mr. Walter Dyas, and they 
came, not from Natal, but the Orange Free State. On 
arrival at the Boer camp they were at first well received, but 
after a little while seized, searched, and tied up all night to 
a disselboom (pole of a waggon). Next morning they were 
told to mount their horses, and started from the camp 
escorted by two men who were to take them over the Free 
State line. 

When they reached the Free State line the Boers told 
them to get off their horses, which they were ordered to 
bring back to the camp. They did so, bade good-day to 
their escort, and started to walk on towards their destina- 
tion. When they had gone about forty yards Dyas heard 
the report of a rifle, and Barber called out, "My God, I 
am shot ! " and fell dead. 

Dyas went down on his hands and knees and saw one of 
the escort deliberately aim at him. He then jumped up, 
and ran dodging from right to left, trying to avoid the bullet. 
Presently the man fired, and he felt himself struck through 
the thigh. He fell with his face to the men, and saw his 
would-be assassin put a fresh cartridge into his rifle and aim 
at him. Turning his face to the ground he awaited his 
death, but the bullet whizzed past his head. He then saw 
the men take the horses and go away, thinking they had 
finished him. After waiting a while he managed to get u^ 


and struggled to a house not far ofl^ where he was kindly 
treated and remained till he recovered. 

Some time after this occurrence a Hottentot, named Allan 
Smith, made a statement at Newcastle, f ron\ which it appears 
that he had been taken prisoner by the Boers and made to 
work for them. One night he saw Barber and Dyas tied to 
the disselboom, and overheard the following, which I will 
give in his own words : — 

" I went to a fire where some Boers were sitting ; among 
them was a low-sized man, moderately stout, with a dark 
brown full beard, apparently about thirty-five years of age 
I do not know his name. He was telling Ms comrades that 
he had brought an order from Piet Joubert to Viljoen, to 
take the two prisoners to the Free State line and shoot them 
there. He said, in the course of conversation, * Piet Joubert 
het gevraacht waarom was de mensche neet dood geschiet 
toen hulle bijde eerste laager gekom het. ' (* Piet Joubert 
asked why were the men not shot when they came to the 
first laager.') They then saw me at the fire, and one of them 
said, * You must not talk before that f 9II0W ; he understands 
what you say, and will tell everybody 

" Next morning Viljoen told me to ^ away, and gave me 
a pass into the Free State. He said (in Dutch), * You must 
not drive for any Englishman again. If we catch you doing 
80 we will shoot you, and if you do not go away quick, and 
we catch you hanging about when we bring the two men to 
the line, we will shoot you too.' " 

Dyas, who escaped, made an affidavit with reference to 
this statement in which he says, '' I have read the foregoing 
affidavit of Allan Smith, and I say that the person described 
in the third paragraph thereof as bringing orders from Piet 
Joubert to Viljoen, corresponds with one of the Boers who 
took Dr. Barber and myself to the Free State, and to the 
best of my belief he is the man who shot Dr. Barber." 

The actual murderers were put on their trial in the Fr«e 


State, and, of course, acquitted. In his examination at the 
trial, Allan Smith says, " It was a young man who said that 
Joubert had given orders that Barber had to be shot. . . . 
It was not at night, but in the morning early, when the 
young man spoke about Piet Joubert's order." 

Most people will gather, from what I have quoted, that 
there exists a certain connection between the dastardly 
murder of Dr. Barber (and the attempted murder of Mr. 
Dyas) and Piet Joubert, one of that ** able " Triumvirate of 
which Mr. Gladstone speaks so highly. 

I shall only allude to one more murder, though more are 
reported to have occurred, amongst them that of Mr. Mal- 
colm, who was kicked to death by Boers, — and that is Mr. 

Mr. Green was an English gold-digger, and was travelling 
along the main road to his home at Spitzcop. The road 
passed close by the military camp at Lydenburg, into which 
he was called. On coming out he went to a Boer patrol with 
a flag of truce, and whilst talking to them waa shot dead. 
The Rev. J. Thome, the English clergyman at Lydenburg, 
describes this mui!der in an affidavit in the following 
words : — 

" That I was the clergyman who got together a party of 
Englishmen and brought down the body of Mr. Green who 
was murdered by the Boers and buried it. I have ascertained 
the circumstances of the murder, which were as follows : — 
Mr. Green was on his way to the gold-fields. As he was 
passing the fort, he was called in by the officers, and sent out 
again with a message to the Boer commandant Immediately 
on leaving the camp, he went to the Boer guard opposite 
with a flag of truce in his hand ; while parleying with the 
Boers, who proposed to make a prisoner of him, he was shot 
through the head." 

No prosecution was instituted in this case. Mr. Green 
left a wife and children in a destitute condition. 



The following extracts from the speeches, despatches, and 
telegrams of members of the present Government, with refer- 
ence to the proposed retrocession of the Transvaal, are not 
without interest : — 

During the month of May 1880, Lord Kimberley des- 
patched a telegram to Sir Bartle Frere, in which the follow- 
ing words occur : " Undar no circumstances can the QvserikB 
authority in the Transvaal he relinquished^* 

In a despatch dated 20th May, and addressed to Sir Bartle 
Frere, Lord Kimberley says, "That the sovereignty of the 
Queen in the Transvaal could not be relinquished." 

In a speech in the House of Lords on the 24th May 1880, 
Lord Kimberley said : — 

** There was a still stronger reason than that for not reced- 
ing ; it was impossible to say what calamities such a step as 
receding might not cause. We had, at the cost of much 
blood and treasure, restored peace, and the effect of our now 
reversing our policy would be to leave the province in a state 
of anarchy, and possibly to cause an internecine war. For 
such a risk, he could not make himself responsible. The 
number of the natives in the Transvaal was estimated at 
about 800,000, and that of the whites less than 50,000. Diffi- 



culties with the Zulus and frontier tribes would again arise, 
and, looking as they must to South Africa as a whole, the 
Government, after a careful consideration of the question, 
came to the conclusion that we could not relinquish the 
Transvaal. Nothing could be more unfortunate than un- 
certainty in respect to such a matter." 

On the 8th June 1880, Mr. Gladstone, in reply to a Boer 
memorial, wrote as follows : — 

"It is undoubtedly a matter for much regret that it shoi^^d, 
since the Annexation, have appeared that so large a number 
of the population of Dutch origin in the Transvaal are opposed 
to the annexation of that territory, but it is impossible now 
to consider that question as if it were presented for the first 
time. We have to do with a state of things which haf 
existed for a considerable period, during which ohligatioru 
have been contracted, especially, though not exclusively, towards 
the native population, which cannot be set aside. Looking to 
all the circumstances, both of the Transvaal and the rest of 
South Africa, and to the necessity of preventing a renewal of 
disorders, which might lead to disastrous consequences, not 
only to the Transvaal but to the whole of South Africa, our 
Judgment is that the Queen cannot be advised to relinquish the 

Her Majesty's Speecli, delivered in Parliament on the 6th 
January 1881, contains the following words: **A rising 
in the Transvaal has recently imposed upon me the duty of 
vindicating my authority." 

These extracts are rather curious reading in face of the 
policy adopted by the Government, after our troops had been 

( 241 ) 



I REPRINT here a letter published in The Times of 
14th October 1899, together with a prefatory note 
added by the editor of that journal. This epistle seems 
to me worthy of the study of thinking men. Much of 
it, most of it indeed, is mere brutal vapouring, false in 
its facts, false in its deductions; remarkable only for the 
livid hues of hate with which it is coloured. Yet in this 
vile concoction, the work evidently of a half-educated 
member of the Cape Dutch party, or perhaps of an 
Afrikander Irishman of the stamp of the late notorious 
Fenian Aylward, appear statements built upon a basis 
of truth which we should do well to lay to heart. I allude 
principally to the question of our food supply and to the 
possible behaviour of the electorate in the event of a 
great war under pressure of want and high prices. (See 
paragraph 3 of the letter of "P. S.") In a very different 
work, "A Farmer's Year," pages 179 and 380, I have 
attempted to treat of this great matter which elsewhere 
has been dealt with also by others more able and perhaps 
better qualified. Until it is reasonably certain that 
under any circumstances which we can conceive the price 
of food stuffs will not be raised to a prohibitive point, 
it can never be said that the future of Great Britain is 
assured beyond all probable doubt. When will this prob- 
lem receive the attention it deserves at the hands of our 
Governments and of those over whom they rule ? 

We have received the following letter, appropriately 
headed " Boer Ignorance." The writer bears a well-known 
Dutch name, and gives as his late address the name of a 
well-known town in a Dutch district of Cape Colony : — 



To the Editor of the ''Times:' 

.Sir, — In your paper you have often commented on what 
you are pleased to call the ignorance of my countrymen, 
the Boers. We are not so ignorant as the British states- 
men and newspaper writers, nor are we such fools as you 
British are. We know our policy, and we do not change 
it. We have no opposition party to fear nor to truckle to. 
Your boasted Conservative majority has been the obedient 
tool of the Radical minority, and the Radical minorit}' 
has been the blind tool of our farseeing and intelligent; 
President. We have desired delay, and we have had it, 
and we are now practically masters of Africa from the 
Zambezi to the Cape. All the Afrikanders in Cape Colony 
have been working for years for this end, for they and we 
know the facts. 

1. The actual value of gold in the Transvaal is at least 
200,000 millions of pounds, and this fact is as well known 
to the Emperors of Germany and Russia as it is to us. 
You estimate the value of the gold at only 700 millions of 
pounds, or, at least, that is what you pretend to estimate 
it at. But Germany, Russia, and France do not desire 
you to get possession of this vast mass of gold, and so, 
after encouraging you to believe that they will not inter- 
fere in South Africa they will certainly do so, and very 
easily find a casus hellij and they will assist us directly 
and indirectly to drive you out of Africa, 

2. We know that you dare not take any precautions in 
advance to prevent the onslaught of the Great Powers, as 
the Opposition, the great peace party, will raise the ques- 
tion of expense, and this will win over your lazy, dirty, 
drunken working classes, who will never again permit 
themselves to be taxed to support your Empire, or even 
to preserve your existence as a nation. 

3. We know from all the military authorities of the 
European and American continents that you exist as an 
independent Power merely on sufferance, and that at any 
moment the great Emperor William can arrange with 
France or Russia to wipe you off the face of the ftarth. 


They can at any time starve you into surrender. You 
must yield in all things to the United States also, or your 
supply of corn will be so reduced by the Americans that 
your working classes would be compelled to pay high prices 
for their food, and rather than do that they would have 
civil war, and invite any foreign Power to assist them by 
invasion, for there is no patriotism in the working classes 
of England, Wales, or Ireland. 

4. We know that your country has been more pros- 
perous than any other country during the last fifty years 
(you have had no civil war like the Americans and French 
to tone up your nerves and strengthen your manliness), 
and consequently your able-bodied men will not enlist in 
your so-called voluntary army. Therefore you have to hire 
the dregs of your population to do your fighting, and they 
are deficient in physique, in moral and mental ability, and 
in all the qualities that make good fighting men. 

5. Your military ofiicers we know to be merely 
pedantic scholars or frivolous society men, without any 
capacity for practical warfare with white men. The 
Afridis were more than a match for you, and your victory 
over the Sudanese was achieved because those poor people 
had not a rifle amongst them. 

6. We know that your men, being the dregs of your people, 
are naturally feeble, and that they are also saturated with the 
most horrible sexual diseases, as all your Government returns 
plainly show, and that they cannot endure the hardships of 

7. We know that the entire British race is rapidly 
decaying, your birth-rate is rapidly falling, your children 
are born weak, diseased, and deformed, and that the major 
part of your population consists of females, cripples, epi- 
leptics, consumptives, cancerous people, invalids, and lunatics 
of all kinds whom you carefully nourish and preserve. 

8. We know that nine-tenths of your statesmen and 
higher officials, military and naval, are suffering from 
kidney diseases, which weaken their courage and will- 
power and makes them shirk all responsibility as far as 

9. We know that your Navy is big, but we know that it 


is not powerful, and that it is honeycombed with dis- 
loyalty — as witness the theft of the signal-books, the 
assaults on officers, the desertions, and the wilful injury of 
the boilers and machinery, which all the vigilance of the 
officers is powerless to prevent. 

10. We know that the Conservative Government is a 
mere sham, and that it largely reduced the strength of the 
British artillery in 1888-89. ^^^ "^® know that it does 
nor dare now to call out the Militia for training, nor 
to mobilise the Fleet, nor to give sufficient grants to 
the Line and Volunteers for ammunition to enable them 
to become good marksmen and efficient soldiers. We 
know that British soldiers and sailors are immensely 
inferior as marksmen, not only to Germans, French, and 
Americans, but also to Japanese, Afridis, Chilians, 
Peruvians, Belgians, and Russians. 

11. We know that no British Government dares to pro- 
pose any form of compulsory military or naval training, 
for the British people would rather be invaded, conquered, 
and governed by Germans, Russians, or Frenchmen than 
be compelled to serve their own Government. 

12. We Boers know that we will not be governed by a 
set of British curs, but that we will drive you out of Africa 
altogether, and the other manly nations which have com- 
pulsory military service — the armed manhood of Europe — 
will very quickly divide all your other possessions between 

Talk no more of the ignorance of the Boers or Cape 
Dutch ; a few days more will prove your ignorance of the 
British position, and in a short space of time you and your 
Queen will be imploring the good offices of the great 
German Emperor to deliver you from your disasters, for 
your humiliations are not yet complete. 

For thirty years the Cape Dutch have been waiting their 
chance, and now their day has come ; they will throw o£P 
their mask and your yoke at the same instant, and 300,000 
Dutch heroes will trample you under foot. 

We can afford to tell you the truth now, and in this 
letter you have got it. — Yours, &c., P. S. 


October 12. 

Printed by Ballanttne, Hanson <&• Co. 






LD 21-95m-7,'37